It is amazing what you can discover about your local area from the snug safety of your home!


Our bespoke Know Your Locality courses are designed to take participants step-by-step through the available online sources that allow them to paint a picture of the geological, archaeological, and historical events that happened close to where they live. While our courses will look at examples from throughout Ireland, each course is generally tailored toward residents of an individual county (who are given preference for available course places) and/or enthusiasts of a specific county’s natural and cultural heritage. The IAFS have delivered dozens of Know Your Locality courses to date for several county councils and handle all required course promotion, enrolment and instruction. An optional field excursion(s) can also be included in some courses.

Our courses are typically delivered through five online tutorials over a two-and-a-half-week period. The tutorials begin by looking at the very bedrock under your feet, examining the geological processes and glacial events that shaped the landscape and formed the soils. The course then focuses on the impacts of humans on that landscape over time, from pre-history to the last century.

Our first workshop includes a summary of the course content and format. A list of resources/links is also sent to the participants to aid them in studying their own locale. Workshops 1-5 normally comprise two distinct parts. The first portion of the workshop focuses on a different aspect of geology, the landscape and archaeology, from the formation of Ireland all the way to the arrival of the Anglo-Normans. The second part of each workshop aims to teach a set of online research skills. Workshop 5 will also outline how these skills can be used by participants to make their own submission(!) to the ‘KnowYour5k’ initiative by the Heritage Council and National Museum of Ireland. Gathering these submissions for their locality is a key outcome of the course.

Course Details


  • Course Dates and Times: Programme costs and dates are created as part of a bespoke programme proposal. Please contact us on to discuss preparing a programme for your county or area.
  • Where: From your home!
  • Equipment: You will need access to the internet and a device (preferably a laptop or PC)
  • Course Type: Local Geology/Archaeology/History
  • Instructor: Dr Stephen Mandal

Safety Notice

They are a wholly online course and as such, all of the activities are based on using online resources. The course may bring to your attention some really interesting findings about your local area. Please bear the following in mind if exploring your area.

Never enter private land without permission and please be aware of any risks in entering a monument or accessing it, such as crossing a field containing livestock. If leaving home please adhere to all government public health advice regarding Covid-19 and do not enter land, or sites which are closed to the public (for guidance see: It is an offence to interfere with an archaeological site and/or to search for archaeological objects using a metal detector without written consent from the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (see also: Many archaeological sites may be in an unstable or ruinous condition, do not place yourself at risk or break any advisory or safety notices for any reason, such as a hope of getting ‘a better photo’!