During the waning millenniums of the
Mesolithic Period in Europe, the
people and climate passed through a time-line gateway; Neanderthal
peoples passed into history and modern humans passed through the gateway
to replace them. Temperatures began to fall which ushered in the last
At the close of the Paleolithic Period in Europe, between 30,000 and
40,000 years ago Neanderthals and modern humans lived in caves in
Europe. Some evidence of their habitation is found in Northern Scotland
and in Wales.
Evidence of Neanderthals in Ireland has not
yet been found, but discovery of each new limestone cave gives rise to
new hope of
Read about Neanderthals in
Read about Neanderthals in
Between 13,000 and 9,000 years ago in Ireland
the Mesolithic Period was in full swing and ushered in vast natural
changes in Ireland; Glaciers melted and the ocean rose from -426
feet below sea level to sea level as we know it today; Coastal areas were flooded and the Irish Sea and Galway Bay
evolved from being fresh water lakes to part of the ocean.
During that time it was possible to cross from
Europe to Scotland and from Scotland to Ireland over land bridges until those
bridges themselves were buried under the sea. From time to time there
were brief mini ice ages and for short periods of time land bridges
re-appeared above sea level.
Ireland was substantially composed of badly
drained areas with thousands of lakes fed by retreating glaciers. Those
lakes were shallow, from three up to twenty feet deep. As the
temperatures warmed, water reeds grew up around the lakes, and other
water plants thrived. As the plants died and sank to the bottom in
sedimentary layers until the lakes were filled with decaying vegetation.
Those became bogs which fueled Irish hearths for thousands of
details about the eskers and bogs here.
Although the land bridge between Ireland and
England sunk below the sea, the bridges subsequently reappeared from
time to time during mini ice ages. While trees and vegetation filed in a
landscape formerly scrubbed clean by glaciers, and animals like giant
deer continued to migrate to Ireland.
As the Mesolithic Period died with the end of
the Ice Age, European cave dwellers tended to follow the glaciers
north. After 9,000B.C. humans could have walked from Europe to England and
Scotland and from there to Ireland, but they evidently did not do so
After 8,000BC the first stirrings of human
entry into Ireland began to occur. Irish legend holds that the first
people to come to Ireland were ugly sea-going monsters
dubbed Famorians, who purportedly settled the seashore and rivers of
Ireland and eventually died from a plague brought by new people.
Of course no
writings exist extant to 9,000B.C. Ireland, so folk lore exist only in
the imaginations of the peoples who followed around 6,000B.C.
Read more about
Mythology in Ireland
Paleontologists and Archeologists believe that
the first humans came across a land bridge created by a mini ice age to
the area of Antrim Ireland around 8,000B.C. Some think they may have come
by wooden boat or raft. By radio-carbon tests they theorize a racial continuity
between the Mesolithic communities found in North Ireland, Wales and Scotland. If accurate, the timeframe
of habitation in
Ireland is pushed back to 10,000 years, in substantial agreement with
findings of some Archeologists.
Thirty years ago archaeologists excavating in
County Derry found fragments of Mesolithic era huts and charcoal
evidently from cooking fires that were later carbon dated to between
6,500 to 7,000B.C. A beach in County Antrim yielded thousands of flint
tools including knives and arrowheads. Over in County Offaly
archaeologists found a Mesolithic settlement at Lough ( Lake )
Evidence suggests that humans from Antrim
spread south down the coast of Ireland to County Cork and up inland
rivers to Connaught. At the mouth of Galway Bay on the west coast of
Ireland lies the Aran Islands, where evidence suggests
habitation in 6,000B.C. Co-incidentally, 6,000B.C. is about the earliest
estimate of the arrival in Ireland of the first tribe of so called Celts.
To summarize the Mesolithic period, the people
of that era were hunters and gatherers. Some of the earliest symbols
found on rocks suggest that the men hunted wild boar in the winter; Their hunting
weapons were tipped with flint; Their diet was rich in meat, supplanted
by nuts and berries gathered by the women of the tribe; They cooked
outside and lived in small huts covered with animal
for use of some maps
For evidence of early habitation
in County Mayo, see Ceide
Fields of County Mayo.
3,000 B.C. new people came to Ireland. Unlike
the peoples of the Mesolithic Period, these new people were farmers.
Facts about their civilization is found at Lough ( lake ) Gur in Co.
Limerick. They left behind tools like knives, axe-heads and spears, and
megalithic monuments and tombs at Newgrange in County
2,000B.C. marked the entry to Ireland of people
skilled in mining and metalworking, developed skills in jewelry and
pottery making and forging metal tools and weapons. This became known
later as the Bronze Age.
the Bronze Age on the Fianna website.
1,700B.C. enter the earliest recorded Kings of
Ulster and Ireland, the Milesians who probably came from Spain.
Read about the Milesian
Genealogies and legends of the Fianna
Warriors on the Fianna Website.
1,200B.C. the first *Crannog* was built for
defenses. That feature was an artificial island built usually in a lake,
and with only horses and wagons, must have been human labor intensive.
Suggestions are that most labor in those times was provided by slaves
guarded by private armies.
Between 1,200 and 100B.C. several waves of Celts
came to Ireland, the last group known as Gaels.
Ireland was divided into 150 small kingdoms
called *tuaths*. Chiefs of tuaths in turn were aligned with one of five
Provincial Kings, Connaught, Ulster, Leinster, Munster and Meath. The
laws under which the Kingdoms were governed were known as Brehon Laws.
According to Fianna, "Celtic Ireland had a simple agrarian economy. No coins
were used, and the cow was the unit of exchange. There were no towns.
Society was stratified into classes, and was regulated by the Brehon
Laws, based largely on the concepts of the 'tuath' as the political
body, and the 'fine' or extended family as the social unit."
information can be found at the following interesting
from the Wild Irish Roves
Ireland - History: THE STORY OF THE IRISH RACE
List of Soldiers with Cromwell
History in Maps
Potted Histories 1998
Fun Histories 1996