Armagh Visitor Education Committee

Armagh Heritage Day 2010
"From Earth to Sky: Reflecting on Armagh’s Heritage Through Time"
The Navan Centre,
Killylea Road, Armagh
Wednesday 19th May 2010

Armagh Through Time:
A View From the County Museum

Greer Ramsey (Acting Curator, Armagh County Museum)

This talk aims to explore the concept of the Earth as a provider of natural resources and to mark some of the major changes that took place over millions and later hundreds of years. It concentrates on the collections of the Museum and how they reflect this process in County Armagh.

We begin our journey through the collections of the County Museum in geological time with the fossil record, which records the fact that the county was once at the bottom of a warm tropical sea. These varying geological conditions also provided many of the raw materials that would later be exploited by man.

When people first arrived in the county, the impact on the landscape was minimal, but through time, natural resources like stone and later metals were utilised and the landscape would never be the same again.

The arrival of Christianity changed the nature of surviving evidence with the introduction of the skill of writing and a range of artefacts related to Christianity make their way into the collections. This period of prosperity contrasts with the rather bleak image of the Armagh City in the early 1600s and it was not until the later 1700s that fortunes would change.

For much of this journey a basic subsistence economy prevailed throughout the county as people aimed to be self sufficient. The rise of industrialisation in the 18th century changed all this, with a move from the home to the factory and the replacement of horse and carriage with canals, road and rail.

The illustrated talk provides an opportunity to explore a small sample of the collections which reflect these changes in a journey that is by necessity personal and selective.

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