Monday, 15 September 2008

"Discovering Mosside" - J D C Marshall

A book for all the villages in Ireland

For years many people have passed through Mosside on the main Coleraine to Ballycastle road with hardly a glance. Recently I came across a new book called Discovering Mosside. I wondered what there was to discover about Mosside that could fill 170 pages. Jon Marshall, the well-known local archaeologist, historian, broadcaster and author has shown that this little place has enormous importance and has featured in the history of Ireland at many of its most significant moments.

Quite rightly (and not surprisingly, given Mr Marshall’s archaeological background) the book begins in the deepest past, with the story of the first settlers in Ireland who provided themselves with food and shelter with nothing except their intelligence, the wood and stones of the place. Some sites at Mosside have been dated to the time of Mountsandel, almost 10,000 years ago.

Despite our modern sophistication, I wondered how many people today could begin to build a life with nothing but the countryside and their wits. The book describes their progress, how they tamed the land and how the population grew as they began the first farming and permanent settlements, shaping the countryside we see today.