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Immigrant burials in Late Iron Age Meath

Exciting research by the LIARI Project has revealed the presence of ‘immigrant’ burials at a Late Iron Age/Early Medieval cemetery in Bettystown, Co. Meath. Excavated over two phases, the Bettystown burial ground contained the remains of circa 70 people who were buried between the 4th and 6th centuries AD (O’Kelly, 1977-79 & Eoghan 1998). Specialist analysis of the […]

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Weather Beaten Archaeology: IT Sligo to host new Archaeology Conference

New archaeological sites, uncovered during the winter storms of the last two years, will be the subject of a special international conference in IT Sligo next weekend. The inaugural Weather Beaten Archaeology Conference is being hosted by the Institute’s Department of Environmental Science. It will run over two days: Saturday March 7th and Sunday March […]

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‘Butter-Making and the Evil One’. Folklore from Co. Wexford

This folklore account details the superstitions surrounding butter churning and the belief that butter could be stolen by supernatural means. It was told by Honor Gaffney from Aclare, Wexford in 1938.  ‘It was believed by the people long ago, that certain people were under the power of the devil, and that they could ‘take away’ […]

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Mummified Monk Found Inside Chinese Buddha Statue

A remarkable study carried out recently in the Netherlands has revealed that a Chinese’s Buddha statue actually contains the remains of a mummified monk. The statue dates from c. 1050-1150 AD and is believed to hold the body of a Chinese Buddhist master, Liuquan. The study of the mummy was carried out under the supervision […]

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The Domhnach Airgid, an Early Irish Book Shrine

The Domhnach Airgid (silver church) is an ornate shrine, fashioned out of silver and bronze that was intended to hold a sacred text. When opened in the 19th century it was found to contain an ancient copy of the gospels and according to tradition this book was a gift from Saint Patrick to his disciple […]

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Gallagh Man, a bog body from Co. Galway

In 1821 members of the O’Kelly family made a gruesome discovery as they dug turf near their home at Gallagh, Co. Galway. As they sliced through the dark peat, they suddenly came across the remains of dead body, which had lain there undisturbed for over 2,000 years. Remarkably, this ancient body was in a near […]

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Islamic coins found in a Viking Age grave from Norway

Archaeologists have uncovered a Viking Age grave in Skaun, Norway that most likely contained the remains of a warrior. The person died in circa 950 AD and was buried with their weapons, which included a well preserved sword and shield boss. The wooden part of the shield had decayed and disappeared in antiquity but the […]

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Buried Horse Skulls: Folklore and Superstition in Early Modern Ireland

During the 1980s, when my grandaunt’s house was being renovated, something unusual was found beneath the floor. As the flagstones were lifted, two large horse skulls were revealed near the centre of the room. The house had been built in the 1840s and the horse skulls had laid undisturbed since then. At the time it […]

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John Derricke’s Images of Ireland, 1581 AD

Below are a selection of images taken from John Derricke’s  The Image of Irelande, with a Discoverie of Woodkarne, which was published in 1581 AD. Dedicated to Philip Sidney, the book is largely a pro-English propaganda piece which praises the deputy-ship of Philip’s father Henry Sidney and his military campaigns in Ireland. Although it casts the Irish in a less […]

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New foundation aims to preserve Irish folklore heritage

The National Folklore Foundation (Fondúireacht Bhéaloideas Éireann), a new UCD company with charitable status, has been set up to preserve, protect and promote Ireland’s National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin. The Collection is one of the largest folklore collections in the world. It is composed of circa 3 million manuscript pages, 500,000 index cards, 12,000 […]

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16th century Irish Hipsters

I recently spotted what appeared to be remarkably modern looking haircuts in Albrecht Druer’s woodcut of 1521 AD[i]. This image […]

Through the millennia: Irish Archaeology in photos

Here is another selection of  amazing images from our Photography Competition, this time spanning the entire breadth of Irish archaeology. Don’t […]

A Mesolithic cemetery: Ireland’s oldest burials

  On a bend of the River Shannon, Ireland’s largest watercourse, a small band of hunter-gathers came to together nearly […]

Images of Newgrange through the ages

The Neolithic  passage tomb at Newgrange is the most visited archaeological site in Ireland. Over 5000 years old it pre-dates the first phase of […]

The Broighter hoard

The remarkable Broighter hoard, arguably the finest treasure trove of the Irish Iron Age, was discovered on a February evening […]

The Oseberg Viking ship burial

  In 1904 a remarkable archaeological site was uncovered at Oseberg, Norway. It consisted of an astonishingly well-preserved Viking ship […]