Between the Tides

Between the Tides

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Belfast, Downpatrick, Greyabbey, Kircubbin, Strangford Lough




Transmission 03/12/2002


23min 57sec







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


By Word productions, Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Rights Holder

By Word Productions, ITV

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


Brian Black explores Strangford Lough's past, with input from an archeological team.

This documentary details a unique, five-year collaboration between government and Northern Irish universities, that aimed to provide a comprehensive archaelogical survey of Strangford Lough, helping us to better understand how our ancestors lived, "between the tides".

Beginning in the Mesolithic Age, moving through the Neolithic Age, the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Medieval Period and, finally,  Plantation Times, the programme hurtles through history, featuring interviews with a variety of archeologists/academics, and detailing significant archeological finds - a Neolithic canoe / three cornmills dating back to 619AD (making them the oldest example of a tidal mill in Europe).

Shot List

Part one. Aerial views of Strangford Lough. Voiceover by presenter Brian Black [BB]; description of the history. BB on the beach, describing a five year survey of the area, carried out as a collaboration between the government and Northern Ireland’s universities. Views of archaeologists surveying the area. Interview with Brian Williams, Environment and Heritage service. Aerial views over Strangford Lough; description of the archaeological sites in the area. Discussion on the Mesolithic Age; views of melting glaciers and submerged forests. Interview with Thomas McErlean [TMcE], University of Ulster; discussion on the food sources used by Mesolithic people. Discussion on the Neolithic Age; discussion on the stone tools used by the people and the crops grown. Views of a possible pre-historic dugout canoe lying on a seabed. Interview with Wes Forsythe, University of Ulster. Views of measurements being taken of the canoe and preservation methods being employed. Aerial views of Audleystown court tomb. Views of artefacts, including flint and javelin heads. BB describing the Bronze Age. Aerial views of Downpatrick; discussion on the Bronze Age and Downpatrick. Interview with Sinéad McCartan, Ulster Museum. Views of Bronze Age tools and gold engraved bracelets. Aerial views of Scrabo Tower and a stone monument; discussion on the Iron Age. Views of Iron Age enclosures and hut circle. Part two. Discussion on the early medieval area. Views of Saint Patrick’s monument, Saul. Interview with TMcE on changes to Ireland following the medieval period. Views of Nendrum round hill monument; discussion on life there in the monastic period. Views of a tidal corn mill discovered by archaeologists. Views of the excavated sites. Views of a sunset. Discussion on the arrival of the Vikings and the origins of the name Strangford Lough. Views of Viking artefacts. Views of the beach at Kilclief. Interview with Dr Finbar McCormick, Queen’s University Belfast. Discussion on the later medieval period; discussion of the invasion of the Normans and John de Courcy. Aerial views of Ardkeen Motte, Inch Abbey and Greyabbey; discussion on life in the abbeys and monasteries. Interior and exterior views of a tower house. Views of a seal in the lough. Discussion on the early modern period. Aerial views of Herring Bay, Kircubbin. Discussion on the cultivation of seaweed and kelp. Interview with Rosemary McConkey, University of Ulster. Discussion on harbours and quays in the lough. Views of an old disused quay and harbour at Castleward. Views of a diver going into the water from a boat; swimming underwater to view the wreck of schooner Nimble. Discussion of the dive site.


A Byword Naturally production for UTV. 

Producers wish to thank; The Environment and Heritage service, Ards Borough Council and Down District Douncil for their assistance in making this programme. 

Artefacts filmed courtesy of; Ulster Museum (Belfast) and Down County Museum (Downpatrick).

Original paintings by Katheryn Marshall and Les Jones.

Music composed by Shaun Davey

Presented by Brian Black

Contributions also from: Thomas McErlean (University or Ulster), Wes Forsythe (University of Ulster), Sinéad McCartan (Ulster Museum), Dr. Finbar McCormick (Queen's University Belfast) and Rosemary McConkey (University of Ulster). 



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