c.7000BC – c.4000BC
The Mesolithic Period was when the first settlers came to Ireland. Mesolithic people were Stone Age hunters, fishers and gatherers, living in the hills and along our coastline and rivers, well before the days of farming.
They lived in small extended family groups and moved around the landscape according to the seasonal availability of food. They used flint and other stones to make basic tools and their settlements can now be identified by locating scatters of these discarded stone implements and the debris from their manufacture. The Mesolithic population around Belfast may have been little more than a few families and, while it is highly likely that they used the hills and their rivers, virtually all evidence of this has long since rotted away, except for the few flints and stones we have found.