“A few flints have been discovered at Yellow Walls…and on the shore at Kilcrea, on the north side of the Malahide Estuary, many large fantastic lumps of flint are to be seen.”1
n the 1940s and 50s, before the first housing estates were built in Yellow Walls, archaeologist GC Stacpoole spent many hours searching its ploughed farmlands (and the wider north Fingal area) for traces of an ancient people.
These people are thought to have come to Ireland from northern England or Scotland around 6000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age.
The channel between Britain and Ireland then was much shallower than today and easily navigated in dugout canoes or perhaps even on foot making use of the many islets along the route to eat and rest.
When the Larnians arrived in county Antrim they found an abundant supply of flint from which to make tools. One of the main sources of flint was at Larne which gave rise to the name ‘Larnian’ for the way of life of these people and the tools they used.
The descendants of these first Larnians made their way down the east coast, passing through Fingal and at least as far as Dalkey Island.
All traces of the Larnians have vanished except for their flint and stone tools and weapons, which included arrow heads, primitive knives, scrapers and borers.
In her 1963 paper “The Larnians of County Dublin”1 Stacpoole identified the best places to find flints in Fingal as “ploughed fields near the sea or on the shores of the Malahide and Rogerstown Estuaries.” Robswall, near Malahide village was one of the best sites for discovering Larnian flints and the area includes the present day Paddy’s Hill park.
Stacpoole records that “a few flints have been discovered at Yellow Walls; and on the shore at Kilcrea, on the north side of the Malahide Estuary, many large fantastic lumps of flint are to be seen.”
The Larnian people who lived on the shores of the Broadmeadow estuary were hunters and gatherers, living off wild game, shell fish, fruit and edible roots and leaves.
Hard to imagine today is the picture Stacpoole paints of these people and their way of life…
Larnian men rowing about the Estuary in their dug-out boats, and the women in their shelters preparing food for them on their return, or making the skins of animals into garments for the coming winter…
1. Stacpoole, GC. The Larnians of County Dublin. Dublin Historical Record, Vol. XVIII, No. 2, pp. 34-44, March, 1963.