History of Mountsandel
Located right at the bottom of The Old Mount Manor's garden is your very own privare entrance to Mountsandel Forest. The forest itself is a beautiful walk with 100's of year old trees, paths hugging the river and of course Mountsandel Fort itself.
The Splendid views of Mountsandel Forest is becoming a must see for every tourist to the North Coast area.
Situated 3 miles from Portstewart, 4 from Portrush and 9 from Bushmills, on the eastern bank of the River Bann lies Mountsandel Forest.
The Fort itself in Mountsandel woods is a mesolithic site, claiming to be the earliest known settlement site of man in Ireland. Built in Norman times the forest is close to the site of the first hunter-gatherer settlement dating from around 7000BC!
Hundreds of small flint tools have been found at the site, providing evidence of Stone Age gatherers camping near the natural weir to trap Atlantic Salmon.
Mountsandel has two main forest paths. One low which leads along the river and one high which walks you past Mountsandel Fort, a huge mound with a strange large hollow in the centre. It was once thought to be the Norman citadel of de Sandel. Some maps mark it as Dun da Bean, Citadel of the Twin Peaks, and the home of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the founder of the oldest family in Europe. The hollow in the centre is unknown elsewhere and also unexplained. It takes its place among the many forts and lookout points along the river Bann.
Through a few trees, inland from the path, there is a small, enclosed field. This unassuming place is the site of the first home in Ireland. Expecting a Neolithic stone age site, the excavator, Peter Woodman was astounded when the radiocarbon dates came back. The results showed that the huts and hearths he had dug were almost ten thousand years old. He uncovered the postholes of their circular huts and their fireplaces, he found thousands of tiny flint microliths which would have been used for hunting and processing their food and best of all, he found the remains of their meals. No it wasn't McDonalds but much more gourmet back then - salmon, flatfish, eel, mackerel, shellfish, duck and red deer. Lots of ingredients our private chef Julia uses today!
The Old Mount Manor,
35 Mountsandle Road,
075 1482 0634