Tours to the major sites are available by arrangement with An Creagán
LOCAL ANCIENT HISTORY
The written historical record in Ireland only goes back as far as the advent of Christianity and St. Patrick’s campaign in the 5th century. Before that we have to rely on archaeological finds to help us understand how people lived.
Archaeologists work like detectives looking for evidence. They use this evidence to build up a picture of the past.
The earliest humans were hunter-gatherers and travelled across the sea to Ireland around 9,000 years ago. They survived by hunting animals and finding food to eat.
The Neolithic Period, 4000BC - 2000BC
Around 4,000 years ago, people in Ireland started living in a new way. Instead of spending all their time hunting and gathering, they began to set up farms.
The early farmers chopped down trees so they could grow crops and vegetables. They kept cattle, sheep and pigs. People began to settle down in one place and build permanent homes.
The farms marked the start of a new age in Ireland – the Neolithic period (or new Stone Age). As well as setting up farms and permanent homes, they also built massive tombs and giant stone circles. Some of the monuments and homes they built can still be seen today.
The Bronze Age, 2000BC - 500BC
Around 2000BC settlers from mainland Europe brought a new skill to Ireland. They were metalworkers who knew how to work with copper. Gradually, people learned to make objects from copper, gold and bronze.
The Iron Age, 500BC – 400AD
Around 500 BC people in Ireland learned how to use iron. This discovery had a dramatic impact on everyday life. Iron tools made farming much easier than before and settlements grew in size.
The Celts lived in clans that belonged to tribes led by warrior kings. Rival tribes fought with deadly iron weapons. Many people lived in hill forts to keep safe from attacks.
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