Oldest known human settlement
Steeped in history from early man to modern times.
Coleraine is situated in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on the River Bann, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean some 5 miles downriver. This part of the province is known as the Causeway Coast, since it contains the Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage site, much visited by tourists from all over the world.
Prior to the Plantation of Ulster, in the early 17th Century, the present County Londonderry was named County Coleraine.
Coleraine’s story stretches back for some 10000 years. About a mile south of the town centre on the east bank of the river, is Mountsandel, site of the earliest known settlement in Ireland. Mesolithic man, nomadic hunter-gatherers, built their shelters here around 8000 B.C.
There is much evidence of Neolithic men in the area, dating from about 4000 B.C. Stone tombs, such as the Druid’s Altar at Magherabuoy, near Portrush, and standing stones, such as the White Wife at Carnalridge, and the Daff Stone at Moneydig,
near Coleraine, are to be found in many places.
River Bann played a huge part in the history of the Coleraine for valuable food resources, such as salmon and eels, and the main means of transport and of course, water. The upper River Bann rises high in the Mourne Mountains and flows into the largest lough in Ireland, Lough Neagh, and then flows northwards to the Atlantic. Today the river is used for coarse fishing, water sports and river tours. It is 80 miles (129 km) long.