A visitor experience to explore the first connection between Ireland and Wales has officially been opened.
Invited guests attended Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth to hear more about the Portalis project, a cross-border initiative led by South East Technological University (SETU) in Ireland to tell the story of Mesolithic life in Cardigan Bay.
Guests heard from key people behind the project, including museum curator Carrie Canham, artist Billie Ireland, Barry Rees from Ceredigion County Council, Professor Jeremy Smith of University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and Dr Suzanne Denieffe from SETU, and watched a film about the work taking place including archaeological digs and dance shows.
Workshops have also been organised in Aberystwyth as part of Portalis.
Dating back to the Mesolithic period about 10,000 years ago, visitors have until 24 June to visit an exhibition at Ceredigion Museum to discover how those first settlers adapted to their surroundings to survive. The project also seeks to understand if there are any parallels with how we can adapt to climate change now.
It was between 11,000 and 6,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age, that the coastline of Cardigan Bay became what we know today. As the ice melted the sea level rose. Sand and pebble beaches became rocky shorelines. Salt water gradually encroached into low-lying land and river estuaries. Habitats changed, plant species altered, and the seasonal migratory paths of animals and birds shifted.
Billie, a visual artist with a practice deeply rooted in discover, vulnerability and nature is holding a series of workshops at the museum.
Carrie said Billie “is drawn to spiritual, ritualistic and sacrificial methods of creation, often reflecting on the power of motherhood and connection to place”.
Billie held her first family workshops on Saturday, 27 May, and will hold another two on 17 June, from 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Children are to be accompanied by an adult and participants should be prepared to get a bit messy as they will be using charcoal, chalk and ochre to make Mesolithic magic with sticks, stones, feathers and bones.
Pre-school age family workshops for children and their parents/carers will take place on 13 June from 11am to 12pm and 1pm to 2pm.
Billie said: “Once again, prepare to get a bit messy as the same materials will be used. The workshop offers sensory creative fun with natural materials. Play with wood, seeds, stones and clay to wrap, thread, balance and stack, using Mesolithic animals, nests and shelters as inspiration.”