In the last two million years
during the Ice Age the climate has been either very cold with
ice sheets and glaciers, or warmer when Mammoth, Giant Irish
Deer and Brown Bears roamed the countryside. The last ice melted
10,000 years ago and man arrived in Ireland 5,500 years ago.
By the Tertiary Period (60 million
years ago) the continents and oceans had almost reached their
present-day distribution (map below). The North Atlantic Ocean
was opening with Europe moving away from Greenland. Volcanic
activity will soon produce the Antrim basalts and the Giant's
Causeway and Iceland. India, which moved northwards throughout
the Tertiary, has nearly collided with Asia, and Australia has
just broken away from Antarctica.