Coleraine Potted History

The Mesolithic site at Mountsandel dates from approximately 5935 BC and is some of the earliest evidence of human settlement in all of Ireland. The town was named by Saint Patrick after being offered a piece of fern covered ground to build a church. Here is a potted history of Coleraine.

Much has happened in Coleraine... for a very, very long time!


The ice melted, the sea levels rose dramatically and Ireland had separated from Britain.


Ealiest evidence of settlement in Ireland and Mesolithic man is found in Mountsandel.  Radiocarbon dates show the site was occupied until 6500 BC  More on this:

Mountsandel Fort - Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland

Mountsandel Fort

Located in the middle of the gorgeous Mountsandel Forest is the the remains of Mountsandel Fort. The Fort is a State Care Historic Monument which dates back to seven thousand BC and the early Mesolithic and Iron Ages. It sits on the edge of a steep river bluff which falls into the River Bann. Visit Mountsandel Fort

4000 to 2500 BC

There is much evidence of The Neolithic or New Stone Age settlement such as tombs of various types around the Causeway Coast. Neolithic finds at Mountsandel include pottery, flints, *spindle whorl and glass beads.  The Mesolithic life of the hunter-gatherer declined and the farming Neolithic people changed the way of life in Ireland.

*Spindle whorl: A disk-shaped object with a hole in the centre, used in the ancient art of making cloth. The presence of a spindle whorl on an archaeological site is an indication of the technological advance of textile production called spinning.

450 A.D

Coleraine is reputed to have received its name Cuil Rathain by St Patrick.

725 AD

Norwegian Vikings raided Coleraine and burned down St Patrick’s church.

830 A.D

The native chieftains had to defend their territory from foreign invasions.

1002 A.D

Battles with Norsemen attempting to raid the town.


Coleraine was razed to the ground by the O'Briens of Munster.  


Coleraine was razed to the ground again this time by the Normans under John de Courcy.


Thomas de Galloway dismantled the Abbey of St Carbreus and erected Coleraine Castle on the same ground.

Late 1500's 

Henry VIII & Queen Elizabeth's forces endeavour to conquer Ireland and suppress the Irish Clans.


O’Cahan’s country became County Coleraine.


O'Cahan sides with the English and one year later the 300 year reign of Gaelic supremacy ended.


The Irish chieftans planned another revolution which was curbed by a land dispute with O'Cahan and the minor chiefs fled to Europe, this was known as the "Flight of the Earls'. Their lands were seized by the English Crown.


The first settlers arrived to rebuild Coleraine and fortify it what is known as the 'Plantation of Ulster'. They took control of Coleraine castle, the Bann Bridge and Coleraine town.


Sir John Perrott drew up the town plans for Coleraine as a fortified Garrison town.


The new town received its first constitution. County Coleraine becomes County Londonderry.


Irish rebellion against the settlers and the Crown.


James II forced the inhabitants of Coleraine to flee to Derry.

Early 1700's

Hardship and misfortune saw many dwellers leave the town.


Downhill (Down Hill) Demense and Mussenden Temple were built west of Castlerock by Frederick Augustus Hervey the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry.


Outbreak of disease caused much loss of life.


Stone bridge built across the River Bann.


The Earl Bishop's beautiful Downhill Demense was destroyed by fire.  


Designed by Thomas Turner, the Town Hall was built by McLaughlin & Harvey.


New railway line built between Coleraine and Londonderry.


The First World War claimed the lives of many of the inhabitants of Coleraine.


Coleraine Football Club was formed.

1939 - 1945

Coleraine Battery men fought and died in WWII.

Early 1900's

The population of Coleraine doubled due to major industrial development


The Coleraine Campus of the New University of Ulster is established.

1980's - Present day

Steady growth of Coleraine to 25,000 people in modern, thriving town.

More on Coleraine

Coleraine - Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland


Coleraine is the informal capital of the Causeway Coast and has all the modern amenities you need and has great historical significance too. This thriving town is busy all year round as it plays host to many National and International visitors who come to visit the Causeway Coast. Coleraine is within a few miles of some of the worlds most impressive coastal views natural attractions and pristine beaches. Visit Coleraine

Map to Coleraine Potted History:

Tap the markers for information or pinch and zoom to pan around the map.