Prehistoric Monuments

Shell Midden, Tawin, County Galway

The Seventh Millennium of the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival?

Shell middens are heaps of discarded Oyster shells. A large number can be found around the coastline of Ireland, and one of them can be seen at Tawin East, a few kilometres west of Clarinbridge. They date back to Mesolithic times. In those early days, before the practice of farming had spread to this island, People were hunter-gatherers and lived in small family groups, mostly in primeval woodland along rivers and around lakes. Once or twice a year, however, according to landscape archaeologist Sarah Cross, they would come together in large groups by the seaside to feast on oysters, drink beer, exchange news and gossip, sing, dance and hopefully meet a marriage partner. Just as they do in Clarinbridge every year in September. Ms Cross also says that corn was first grown for brewing beer, not for bread. Interesting.

Detail of shell midden

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