New exhibition highlights ancient links between Wales and Ireland

10 August 2023

A new cross-border visitor experience exploring the life of our earliest settlers has opened at Ceredigion Museum. The free and accessible resource explores evidence of life dating back to the Mesolithic period.

Researchers from the Portalis transdisciplinary pilot project, working with six coastal communities, have been exploring the earliest connections between Ireland and Wales dating back to 10,000 years ago.

Launched by the Portalis project team in partnership with Ceredigion Museum, the permanent visitor experience features a display of Mesolithic and Neolithic artefacts from Ceredigion and unique storyboards that explore the earliest connections between Ireland and Wales.

Carrie Canham, Ceredigion Museum Curator, said: “I’m delighted that the legacy of the popular Portalis temporary exhibition is now available in our Archaeology Gallery. In addition to the permanent display, we have new educational resources for schools that includes VR headsets for pupils to explore a recreation of a Mesolithic settlement.”

Councillor Catrin M S Davies added: “The sea is a hugely important element for the people of Ceredigion and has been throughout the centuries and to have an exhibition that celebrates the connection the sea has given us with Ireland is a wonderful thing.”

Joy Rooney, Portalis Senior Responsible Officer and Design Lead, Lecturer and Researcher in Design, South East Technological University, said: “This permanent new resource for our six coastal communities and their visitors helps tell the story of our uniquely significant new data and will help raise awareness of and interest in protecting our coastal cultural and natural heritage in the challenging times ahead. SETU are developing further funding pathways to help ensure pilot project outputs are sustainable and underpinned by further research.”

Entry to the Portalis permanent visitor experience at Ceredigion Museum is free, with no prior booking required.

The Portalis project, €1.95m, is supported with €1.5m funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme:

The project is led by South East Technological University, (SETU) and is supported by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Ceredigion County Council and Waterford Chamber of Commerce.