A Sense of Tradition: Celts to Vikings

A Sense of Tradition: Celts to Vikings

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Armagh, Navan Fort




September 1993


14min 35sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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An ITV schools programme.

Using the methods of reenactment, time markers and maps, and by visiting current day locations, presenter Oliver McGilloway tells the dramatic story of the Celts and the Vikings as they relate to Irish history.

A continuation of the the previous episode, the Metal Age, we begin with McGilloway examining a map of County Armagh, before moving to Navan Fort, an ancient ceremonial ground. The viewers are told that, around 200 years ago, a man working near the site found four bronze trumpets, along with the bones and skulls of various mammals. With the Celts came the skill of making objects with iron. The sheer volume of weapons left behind, suggests this was a people with a fondness for war.

Next, the legend of Saint Patrick, beginning with his exploits in returning to Ireland, after escaping slavery a number of years before. Patrick's legacy, in converting the kings of Ireland to Christianity, and the subsequent impact on ordinary people, is examined. However, Christianity in Ireland did not completely eradicate the old pagan ways, even if churches were built on the pagan's sacred oak groves. Christianity also brought the knowledge of written language, which Irish monks trained in, producing manuscripts such as The Book of Kells.

Finally, the episode turns to the Vikings, recounting their raids on Irish monasteries. Eventually, the Viking people settled permanently in the country, predominantly along the South East coast, creating the precursors to the cities of Dublin, Wexford and Waterford. 



ITV Schools was the educational television service set up in 1957 by the Independent Television Authority, broadcasting learning programmes for children ages 5 to 18 across ITV-affiliated stations. It was an example of public service broadcasting on a commerical television network. ITV moved its schools programming to Channel 4 in 1987, although ITV continued to produce programmes and the service continued to use the ITV name for another six years.The last ITV Schools programme on Channel 4 aired on Monday, 28th June, 1993.   


Presented by Oliver McGilloway. 

Facilities provided by Northland Films.

An Ulster Television Production. 



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