A Sense of Tradition: The Age of Metal

A Sense of Tradition: The Age of Metal

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Beaghmore Stone Circle, Co. Tyrone, Cookstown, Sperrin Mountains




September 1993


14min 46sec







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 story of Ireland's Metal Age history. Continuing from the previous episode, which focused on the Stone Age, we here begin in County Tyrone, in the Sperrin Mountains, before moving on to the Beaghmore stone circles (c.2000 BC).

The Bronze Age people were very skilled at making weapons and ornaments out of copper. However, the process by which the final product is created is long. McGilloway guides us through the steps; first, find a rock face not covered in soil or plants, next, look for the green colour of the rock which signals it contains copper. Then, in order to access the copper, a large bonfire is lit next to the rock and splashed with water to split the rock. Stone hammers are then used to smash the rock into smaller pieces. It is all then melted at high temperatures and tin is mixed in, to make it a tougher metal unti, finally, it becomes bronze. Due to this lengthy process, the bronze age people traded metal tools and accessories for food and clothing. 

The programme ends with a look ahead to the next episode, and the coming of the iron age (around 2,200 years ago) and the rising influence of the Celts.



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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