Primary 4 pupils from St Malachy’s Primary School and The Irish Society Primary School in Coleraine have taken part in the Mountsandel Field School Project.
Organised by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Museum Services and in partnership with The Rotary Club in Coleraine and Mountsandel Discovery and Heritage Group, the visit to Mountsandel Wood demonstrated the importance of the site’s local history and heritage.
The day included exciting workshops and activities designed to bring Mountsandel’s pre-historic past back to life as part of Coleraine Museum’s ‘Irish History Starts Here’ programme.
Mountsandel is the site of the earliest known settlement on the island of Ireland, dating back almost 10,000 years. It was occupied by Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) people who lived by hunting and gathering along the Bann and in the surrounding woods.
Pupils took part in four interactive activities at stations throughout the wood, engaging with the settlement site itself with archaeologist Grace McAllister, handling original stone tools with Museum Services’ Nic Wright, foraging in the woods with Celia Spouncer and David Thompson from Spouncer Ecology and playing hunting games with local facilitator Jim Allen.
Siobhan Burns, Principal of St Malachy’s Primary School said: “The Primary 4 class had a wonderful day in Mountsandel learning about how the first settlers in our area lived, hunted, fished and survived. They also learned about the impact the Mesolithic people had on the way we live today and on the historic importance of the site at Mountsandel. The opportunity to work with historians and storytellers in the forest itself was a unique experience for the pupils. Thank you to the Coleraine Rotary Club and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Museum Services for organising such a terrific fun and educational day for the pupils of St. Malachy’s and Irish Society Primary Schools.”
Chris Murdock, Principal of the Irish Society Primary School said “It was a pleasure to have the pupils, staff and Principal from St. Malachy’s PS visit our school following the trip to Mountsandel forest. The children really enjoyed working with the pupils from St. Malachy’s whilst learning about the history of their local area, in particular all that is associated with Mountsandel. We would like to thank the Rotary Club of Coleraine, Causeway Coast and Glens Council’s Museum Services and Mountsandel Discovery & Heritage Group for organising the event, and the Deputy Mayor Trevor Clarke for attending. This was an exciting project and one which we hope will be further funded and developed in the future.”