Irish Archaeology website

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 shows a group of Irish soldiers[ii], most likely mercenaries, who were fighting on the European continent during the early 1520s. I soon discovered that, far from being unusual, this distinctive hairstyle was actually very popular […]

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 forget there are also specific posts showing some of the Prehistoric, Early Medieval, Late Medieval and Foreign Archaeology photos. All of the images used in this blog post are copyright of the respective photographers, please respect this. ‘Starry Night at […]

Castles and Abbeys: Medieval Ireland in Photos

Here is a selection of some of the fantastic images that have been entered into our Photography Competition, this time with an emphasis on Medieval sites. Don’t forget there are also blog posts on the Prehistoric and Early Medieval photos. All of the images used in this blog post are copyright of the respective photographers, […]

Early Medieval Ireland in Photos

Early Medieval Ireland in Photos. A small selection of some of the brilliant images that have been entered into our Photography Competition, this time with an emphasis on Early Medieval sites. You can seen a selection of Prehistoric photos here. The competition runs until the 31st of July, so don’t be afraid to enter.  All of […]

Prehistoric Ireland in Photos

Prehistoric Ireland in Photos. In  case you didn’t know it already, Irish Archaeology.ie are running a photography competition for the month of July. So far there has been an amazing response and the standard of entries has been fantastic.  Below are just a small selection of these photos, with an emphasis on prehistoric sites. The competition runs […]

Mount Sandel, a Mesolithic Campsite

Approximately 9,000 years ago, a small band of Mesolithic hunter-gathers chose a high ridge over-looking the River Bann in modern day Co. Derry as their home. Here, in a forest clearing, they erected a series of tent-like structures, fashioned out of wooden posts and covered in hides or thatch. These simple buildings represent Ireland’s very […]

Thor’s Wood, a sacred grove near Viking Age Dublin?

In late December 999 AD Brian Bóruma, king of Munster, decisively defeated the Viking’s of Dublin[i] at the battle of Glen Máma[ii]. This bloody contest was a severe set-back for the Hiberno-Norse inhabitants of the city, and their king, Sitric Silkbeard, was forced to flee. The following day Brian’s troops marched on Dublin, which they […]

Poulnabrone Tomb: Life and Death in the Burren

Standing proud in the stark landscape of the Burren Co. Clare, the iconic megalithic tomb at Poulnabrone is one of Ireland’s most photographed archaeological sites. Dating from the Neolithic period, this distinctive monument has revealed a wealth of information about the lives and burial customs of Ireland’s very first farming communities. Poulnabrone is classified as […]

The Lisdrumturk Cauldron

Discovered in 1854, by turf-cutters digging in a Co. Monaghan bog, the Lisdrumturk Cauldron is an exceptional example of Late Bronze Age metal-working. It was undoubtedly a high status object and its burial in a bog may be indicative of ritual activity. Finally crafted, the cauldron measures 29.5cm high by 50cm in diameter. It is made from […]

Toy Viking boat

A Viking Age toy boat from Dublin

This image shows a wooden replica of an ocean-going Viking longboat that was discovered during the National Museum of Ireland’s excavations at Winetavern Street, Dublin. Most likely a toy, the vessel measures approximately 37 cm in length by a maximum of 8.5 cm in width. Originally the boat would have had a mast and a […]

Recent News

Viking Ireland, a fantastic series of videos by the National Museum of Ireland

The Vikings in Ireland is a fantastic series of videos, which have been produced by the National Museum of Ireland to celebrate the 1000 year anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf. You can view the videos below. . 1. Dr Andy Halpin, Assistant Keeper at the National Museum of Ireland, discusses three newly discovered Viking battle axes […]

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A rare 16th century bridge at Tintern, Wexford

This rare, surviving, example of a 16th century bridge is found at Tintern in Co. Wexford. Located over a small, tidal river, the bridge is situated just a short distance from the impressive ruins of Tintern Abbey, which was founded in the 13th century. It has three plank-centred arches[i] and is a defended by a crenellated […]

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The Comerford Crown, a Bronze Age gold ‘hat’ from Tipperary

The Comerford Crown is striking gold artefact, whose origins probably lie in the Late Bronze Age. It was discovered in 1692 in a peat bog at Bearna Eile (The Devil’s Bit), Co. Tipperary. As the picture above shows, it was profusely decorated, in what was most likely repousse ornamentation. An extraordinary object, the crown must have created a […]

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Five Ancient Musical Instruments from Ireland

Ireland has rich musical heritage and as these instruments illustrate, it dates back many thousands of years.   In 2003 a remarkable artefact was recovered during an archaeological excavation carried out by Bernice Molly at Greystones, Co. Wicklow. It consists of six carefully worked wooden pipes, which represent the world’s oldest surviving wooden musical instrument. […]

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Some Fantastic 19th century Photos of Irish Archaeology Sites

This fantastic collection of photos, which are taken from the archives of Victoria & Albert Museum, show a number of Irish archaeological sites as they appeared at the end of the 19th century/start of the 20th century. The majority of images were taken by Robert Welch who was a noted Belfast based photographer.     […]

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Dunbeg Fort, Dingle, Co. Kerry, in photos

Located on a rocky promontory, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Dunbeg fort lies on the far western tip of the Dingle peninsula in Co. Kerry. This rather precarious position, although highly defensible, also leaves the fort susceptible to coastal erosion and a recent storm has caused considerable damage to the site. Unfortunately a section of the fort’s […]

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The Helgo Treasure: A Viking Age Buddha

Viking buddha

A remarkable collection of religious items sourced from diverse lands was discovered during archaeological excavations on the Swedish island of Helgo. Located in Lake Malaren, to the west of Stockholm, this small island was an important Viking trading and manufacturing centre (6th-11th centuries AD). It has produced an enormous collection of artefacts, including numerous exotic finds […]

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16th century images of Irish people

A collection of images depicting 16th century Irish people. Although the majority of figures illustrated are soldiers and warriors, there are also some fine pictures of women, especially by the Flemish artist, Lucas d’Heere.  ‘Irish as they stand accoutred being at the service of the late King Henry’, by Lucas d’Heere, circa 1575. Born in Ghent, […]

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The Lismore Drinking-Horn Mount

This unusual and fantastical beast was discovered in Lismore, Co. Waterford during the 19th century. Fashioned out of bronze, it originally adorned the pointed end of a great drinking-horn. It probably dates from the 7th or 8th centuries AD and appears to depict a stylised bird.  The mount measures approximately 9 cm in length and […]

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Some Irish words with Norse Origins

The year 795 AD  saw a new force arrive on the Irish political scene, the Vikings. These seaborne warriors were to have a significant impact on Irish life. Their attacks on religious centres and propensity for warfare are well documented, as is their contribution to the development of urban centres and new trade routes.  However, something which […]

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The Irish Rebel and the Ancient Sword

After the Battle of New Ross in 1798 an ancient blade was prised from the hands of a dead rebel fighter. The unnamed warrior had gone to war not with an iron pike like so many of his compatriots, but something much older. He died clasping a weapon not seen on a battlefield for over […]

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A Satirical Chamberpot from 18th century Dublin

In the late 18th century an English writer, Richard Twiss caused consternation in Ireland when his book, ‘A Tour in Ireland in 1775‘, was published. It painted the country and its inhabitants in a very poor light and was widely condemned by the Irish public. However, every cloud has a silver lining and an enterprising […]

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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 […]

The death of an elephant, Dublin, 1681

I stumbled across a curious 17th century account of an elephant in Dublin city recently. Yes, you read right, an […]

Dublin’s lost buildings: The Dutch Billy

  Strolling through some of Dublin streets at the begining of the 18th century, an English visitor to the city […]