The remains of the Barbary ape mentioned in Conall: Rinn-Iru (The Place of Blood) were actually uncovered during excavations at Navan Fort (Emain Macha). 
The dating of the ape's remains puts the animal around the time of the story and does appear to suggest that Phoenician and Greek traders were not unknown even as far north as mid-Ulster. 
Interestingly, around 320 BC, Pytheas, a Greek sailor and merchant was said to have sailed to the shadowy Northern Sea and the Tin Island. Unfortunately, only the title of the record of his journeys – On the Ocean – appears to have survived.
In ancient times Great Britain was known as the Tin Island due to its tin mines which were located mainly in what is now southern England. Tin is a key component in the production of bronze. Likely the Celts in ancient Ireland took with some enthusiasm to the Iron Age as Ireland while rich in copper had few if any tin mines and hence the ore had to  be imported. However, iron ore was both plentiful and low-cost. 


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