Heritage and Heroes

This series of programmes was presented by Dr Alison Lennon with primary students from Friary National School, Dundalk, Shelagh National School, Hackballscross, Scoil Naomh Lorcan, Omeath and St Clare’s Abbey, Newry, Co Down.

Each show introduced pupils to the history and archaeology of their local area where they gained an appreciation and understanding of the heritage and landscape of their local community. Alison brought along artefacts such as arrowheads, coins and replica sword and shields.

Part 1 Friary National School, Dundalk, Co Louth

We learn about

  • the archaeology of the area and the settlement of Dundalk by the Anglo-Normans in the late 12th century.
  • the surnames of Anglo-Normans who settled here.

Monuments: Seatown Castle, Roche Castle, Cuchullain’s Castle, the Proleek Dolmen, Cuchullain’s Stone and a number of local souterrains.

Part 2 Scoil Naomh Lorcan, Omeath, Co Louth

We learn about

  • the archaeological artefacts found on the proposed site for Narrow Water bridge. This site, at Cornamucklagh, was excavated in 2013 and the remains of an early medieval industrial site was found as well as ‘burnt mounds’
    dating from 7000 to 6000 BC.
  • finds of an early medieval industrial site which includes two cereal drying kilns; a metalworking area; a series of pits of various sizes. This site is in close proximity to an early medieval monastery and these newly discovered features may be directly associated with this important ecclesiastical site. The finds also provide evidence of some form of Viking settlement in the area.
  • the arrival of the Vikings in Ireland and the children talk about what the word ‘Viking’ means to them.

Monuments:  The Long Woman’s Grave, the Mass Rock in Ardaghy, Clontygora and Annaverna passage tombs.
Part 3 St Clare’s Abbey, Newry, Co Down

We learn about the association with St Patrick and how he gave the town its name ‘Lúr Cinn Trá’ – the Yew tree at
the head of the strand (Newry).

We learn about

  • the first building constructed in the area, an ancient Christian monastery, which was replaced in 1144 by a
    Cistercian Abbey.
  • the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in County Down.
  • the ‘Crown Mound’, a very interesting motte and bailey castle, which is the largest in County Down
    and how it was built by the Mageniss’s (a local ‘native Irish’ family).

Monuments: Newry Castle, Green Castle, Narrow Water Castle, Kilfeagan Dolman and Tamnaharry standing stone.

Part 4 Shelagh National School, Hackballscross, County Louth

We learn about

  • the mythology of Slieve Gullion in relation to Fionn Mac Cumhaill and Cuchullain.
  • the archaeological monuments found on Slieve Gullion, including its two burial cairns and passage tombs, one of which is the highest in Ireland.
  • some of the artefacts found on Slieve Gullion.

Monuments: Ballykeel Dolmen, the Killeavy Old Churches and Killnasaggart standing stone.