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Ulster Museum

Deep Time: Episodes from our geological past

Take a journey through our island’s ancient past, told in its rocks, fossils and minerals, from its earliest beginnings right up to the start of the Ice Age barely 2 million years ago.

Permanent display

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A journey through time

Experience a unique journey through time, in eleven episodes, from the very formation of our planet more than 4,500 million years ago to the start of the Ice Age.

Touch a piece of the very oldest rock in Ireland, almost 1,800 million years old, from the remote island of Inishtrahull. Run your fingers across rippled sandstone from Scrabo Hill, formed on a river bed 230 million years ago. See the only two dinosaur bones ever found in Ireland, and some of the fossil ‘sea dragons’ that lived alongside them, all from the Jurassic rocks of the Antrim coast. Ponder on the peculiar Paramoudra, a giant hollow flint, and the petrified wood from Lough Neagh.

Changing times, changing places

Discover how the climate and environment – and even our location on the globe – has changed over millions of years. See some of the evidence for this, in the rocks that form our island’s landscape and in the fossils that they contain. There are spectacular examples throughout the gallery.