Vincent Butler - Heritage Experts | Heritage in Schools

Vincent Butler

Vincent Butler
Science, History, Geography
Curriculum Strands:
Story (History), Local Studies (History), Early people and ancient societies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Eras of change and conflict (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Human environments (Geography), Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science), Materials (Science), Energy and forces (Science)
Counties catered for:
Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wicklow
Classes catered for:
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th

Book in-person visit

Boyhood interests in natural history, archaeology and geology were the foundation blocks for a career focused on imparting knowledge. Vincent has a passion for sharing information, creating curiosity and, hopefully, appreciation for our built, cultural, and natural heritage.

A zoo archaeologist, explorer, expedition leader, geographer, and author, he has amassed an eclectic array of curios, archaeological artefacts, and natural history and geological specimens throughout his lifetime.

His Crate of Curiosities workshops cover a wide range of heritage topics. Stowed in a vintage wooden crate, the specimens and artifacts are individually unwrapped and shown to the class by Vincent. In his fun and engaging style, enthralling stories are woven round each of the items which have been specially chosen for their individual quality and unique features. Students are actively encouraged to examine the collection as a means of fostering curiosity, wonder and appreciation for our natural, built, and cultural heritage.

The solid crust of the earth is composed of a myriad of rocks and minerals,
the layers of which can be read like a book by the trained geologist. Ireland has an amazingly interesting and varied geology. Vincent will use a wide selection of geological samples from his own extensive collection to explain to the students, in simple terms, how different types of rocks and minerals have formed.

Interesting aspects of local geological heritage will be woven into this Crate of Curiosities workshop. The importance of geology in our daily lives will also be highlighted. In addition, Vincent will give advice and tips to the students on how they can compile their own collection of rocks and minerals.

Fossils, the remains of prehistoric plants and animals preserved in rock, have fascinated people for centuries and are a connection to our ancient world. Vincent will explain how fossils were formed, the main types that can be found, the geological periods to which they belong and many of the remarkable creatures that lived in the far distant past.

An outstanding selection of fossils, including dinosaur bone, ammonites, trilobites, belemnites, fish, plants and teeth from mosasaurs and sharks will be made available for the students to examine. In addition, Vincent will give useful advice and tips on how the students can make their own collection of fossils.

An array of biological samples was retrieved during archaeological excavation of medieval sites in Dublin City, spanning the Viking and Norman Periods. Extremely well-preserved mammal- bird- and fish bone, shellfish, remains of plants and other environmental material were found in profusion. As a professional archaeologist, Vincent specialised in the detailed examination of ancient animal bones or zooarchaeology and worked in the National Museum for several years.

In this Crate of Curiosities workshop, he describes the different techniques archaeologists use to study ancient animal bones, similar in many ways to crime scene forensics, to gather information about the past. He explains how this ‘old rubbish’ provides us with a fascinating insight into everyday life in Dublin over a thousand years ago. Medieval archaeological samples and animal bones will be made available for hands-on examination by the students.

A variety of now extinct mammals once inhabited Ireland during warmer phases of the Ice Age. These included Woolly Mammoth, Reindeer, Irish Giant Deer, Cave Hyaena, Brown Bear, Wolf, Lemming, and Arctic Fox. Vincent will detail these remarkable animals and the Ireland they inhabited tens of thousands of years ago. He will showcase a selection of their ancient bones from his own private collection.

Following the end of the Ice Age around 12,000 years ago, our first prehistoric ancestors arrived on the island of Ireland. Vincent will explore and detail the remarkable nomadic, hunter-gatherer lifestyle of these Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age people, who fashioned their tools and weapons from a variety of different types of rock.

This Crate of Curiosities workshop explores the rich array of marine life found along the coastline and in our offshore waters using an extensive selection of specimens collected by Vincent over a lifetime. Remarkable facts and snippets of information are provided on a wide selection of the amazing creatures whose home is the shore and sea. Sea urchins, whales, shellfish, sharks, seabirds, dolphins, crabs, sea anemones, barnacles, cuttlefish, jellyfish, Mermaid’s Purses, and lots more are detailed.

Each tide brings in a new ‘cargo’ of amazing items to the shore where they are left stranded awaiting discovery by the seashore detective. These include coconuts and sea beans which travel to our western shores from sunnier climes in the West Indies carried like passengers in the Gulf Stream. Vincent gives advice on how students can create and display their own collection of the wonderful items they find.

Additional Information

  • Provides in-person visits
  • Caters for special needs
  • Provides practical/hands-on activities
  • Provides field trips

Contact Details

087 233 0966