A period in the Geological time-scale covering (approximately) from 354 to 290 million years before the present. This period can be subdivided into the older Lower Carboniferous and the younger Upper Carboniferous. The period is of particular significance for Ireland because the limestones that underly much of the central lowland developed during the Lower Carboniferous. Grits, shales and coal measures associated with the Upper Carboniferous make up the Castlecomer Plateau and the uplands of the Mullaghareirks on the west Limerick/ north Kerry border, but generally they are much less widely represented in Ireland.