Anger over Bronze Age village

Pictured at the Portrush Heritage Group meeting in the Ramada Hotel on Wednesday evening are speakers from left; Dr. Bob Curran, Nicholas Wright, John McNally, chairman, Hugh McGratton, Andrew Bratton, and Andrew Gault. INCR10-320PL
Pictured at the Portrush Heritage Group meeting in the Ramada Hotel on Wednesday evening are speakers from left; Dr. Bob Curran, Nicholas Wright, John McNally, chairman, Hugh McGratton, Andrew Bratton, and Andrew Gault. INCR10-320PL

Members of Portrush Heritage Group have expressed anger that no efforts were made to preserve part of a unique Bronze Age village situated at Corrstown, Portrush.

First identified in 2002 when the extensive site was being prepared for housing, the ancient settlement was later described as “a truly groundbreaking archaeological discovery” and archaeologists were given ten months to properly examine and record the remains before the area was bulldozed.

Evidence of at least 76 round houses from around 1500BC was discovered during the excavations, as well as later mediaeval occupation. The houses were laid out in orderly fashion. Cobbled paths were found, forming laneways in front of rows of houses.

It is believed that the houses located were only part of a much larger village extending to the east and west of the site.

Nearly 13 years after the ancient village was discovered, no trace of it is visible and not even an information board has been erected by the local authorities indicating the importance of the site.

The subject of the Corrstown settlement arose during a talk by Dr. Nicholas Wright of the Coleraine Museum Service, who described the discovery as being of great archaeological significance. It could be considered as the earliest known village in Ireland or Britain, he declared.

A spirited discussion followed the talk and the hope was expressed that the new area Council, which takes over next month, would consider some method of indicating and acknowledging the historical importance of the Corrstown site.

The Heritage Evening, the fourth to be organised by the Heritage Group, was again well attended, a positive indication of the interest being shown in this new Group, established only last year.

Another speaker on Wednesday night was Andrew Gault, who is project archaeologist with the Environment Agency’s exciting Dunluce Project. He gave an overview of the recent discoveries at the 17th century town which has been found in an exceptionally well preserved state.

The third speaker was Andrew Bratton of the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust who spoke on the origin of the names of locations between Ballycastle and Portrush.

A short question and answer session was also held when a number of queries regarding the heritage and history of the area were put by members of the audience to a panel consisting of Bob Curran, John Moore and Hugh McGrattan. Details of the next Heritage Evening, on 29 April, were announced.

The speakers will be the well-known historian Alex Blair from Ballymoney and author Tim Hodkinson who will speak on “Knights, Gallowglasses and Pirates – the north Ulster coast in medieval times”.