Although the exact circumstance surrounding the discovery of the Castlerea earrings remains uncertain, it is believed that they were found near the Co. Roscommon town during the 18th century.
Probably dating from the end of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1200 BC), the earrings measure approximately 3.6 cm in diameter. They were fashioned out of small rectangular gold bars, whose edges had been hammered out. These were then twisted to give the earrings their distinctive shape. If carefully inspected the impressions of a small, round-headed hammer can still be seen on the surface of the gold. After twisting, spikes were soldered onto the ends of the bars so the pieces could easily be worn as earrings.
Undoubtedly high status items, they would have been a conspicuous display of their owner’s wealth and status. Today the Castlerea earrings can viewed at the National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin.
Wallace, P.F. 2000. A guide to the National Museum of Ireland, Town House & Country House, Dublin.
Stolen treasure: The Coggalbeg Hoard
A Pair of Late Bronze Age Gold Bracelets from Co. Offaly