MOUNTSANDEL ON THE MAP

Derek Sinnamon, Liam Hickey and Robert Aiken with schoolchildren James O'Kane, Maebh Hickey and Annabell Aiken at the Mountsandel site. INCR04 004BW
Derek Sinnamon, Liam Hickey and Robert Aiken with schoolchildren James O'Kane, Maebh Hickey and Annabell Aiken at the Mountsandel site. INCR04 004BW

The Coleraine Times today backs a Coleraine Rotary Club campaign which could result in Mountsandel becoming a World Heritage Site.

Plans are underway for a far-reaching awareness campaign to highlight Mountandel’s unique place in our history.

Exacavations by Professor Peter Woodman and a team of archaeologists in the 1970s uncovered evidence of a Mesolithic - Middle Stone Age - settlement dating back to 7,600-7900BC, the earliest known settlement anywhere in Ireland.

Now the Rotary Club - led by president Liam Hickey - has launched an “Our History Starts Here” project which will include:

* The preservation and development of Mountsandel, the Bann Estuary and Cutts as sites of huge historical significance;

* The development of a cross-stakeholder project team to exploit and promote the Mountsandel area as a beacon for tourism and economic opportunity;

* The development of a Visitors Interpretative Centre in Coleraine highlighting Mountsandel’s unique story;

* An awareness campaign with schools and the community to promote knowledge, interest and pride in Mountsandel;

* UNESCO recognition of Mountsandel as a World Heritage Site like the Giant’s Causeway, Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the Acropolis in Greece and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

* The launch of an annual festival to celebrate the Mountsandel story.

Rotary’s public awareness campaign will begin with a Public Meeting at Coleraine Rugby Club on Wednesday, February 17 at 7.30pm when Prof Woodman will be the special guest. Turn to page 14-15 to read our exclusive report on one of the most important heritage initiatves ever launched in the borough.