A selection of some of the wonderful Bronze Age treasures which are are currently on display at the National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin.
1. A Late Bronze Age gold collar from Gleninsheen, Co....Read More »
This early 16th century cap of maintenance is thought to be the only item of Henry VIII’s wardrobe that survives. A formal piece of clothing, it was originally worn beneath the royal crown. However, in 1536, Henry VIII sent it to Ireland, along with...Read More »
by Alva Mac Gowan.
This chair has a story to tell. Its tightly twisted seat is made from straw woven by the hands of children who could not hear, and so their touch and sight was all the stronger. Its body was carved...Read More »
This ornate book shrine comes from Clonmany, Inishowen, Co. Donegal, where the O’Morrison family were its traditional keepers. Associated with Saint Cairneach, the oldest parts of the shrine appear to date from the 11th century AD.
The core of the artefact consists of a single...Read More »
In 1834 a group of men ‘landing potatoes’ at Tumna, Co. Roscommon discovered a collection of curious gold balls. Dating from the Late Bronze Age, these ancient artefacts had lain hidden in the ground for nearly...Read More »
This decorated spindle whorl was discovered inside a Late Bronze Age house that was excavated by Bernice Molly at Killmelly, Co. Tipperary (Molloy 2009, 67). Used to make thread, spindle whorls played an important role in textile production. They consist of a perforated disc...Read More »
Originally owned by the Butler family of Granvilla, near Cahir, Co. Tipperary, this small amulet was traditionally used to protect cattle from disease. It consists of a crystal ball weighing c. 200g that is mounted...Read More »
Traditionally associated with the kings of Ulster, the great hilltop enclosure of Eamhain Mhacha (Navan Fort
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...Read More »
Ireland has rich musical heritage and as these instruments illustrate, it dates back many thousands of years.
1. The Wicklow Pipes, c. 2200-2000 BC
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...Read More »
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...Read More »
It often sparks debate on our social media platforms when I share images of Irish artefacts that are housed in foreign museums. Typically people want...Read More »
Dating from the 12th century and decorated in foliate patterns, this small, bronze ball is actually a hand-warmer. Inside the metal sphere, which unscrews into two halves, is an iron cup that held...Read More »
Dating from the 8th century AD, the Moylough belt shrine is one of the great treasures of early Ireland. Fashioned out of bronze and silver, it was found in 1945...Read More »
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...Read More »
The rare and unusual Waterford knife was discovered during an archaeological excavation in the south eastern Irish...Read More »
The elaborate, stave-built Derreen bucket was discovered in a peat bog in Kilmurry parish, Co. Clare in 1938. It formed part of small hoard of objects that were either hidden or lost in...Read More »
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...Read More »
This beautiful bronze bowl was discovered in 1854 in a river flowing into Lough Scur, which lies just north of Keshcarrigan in Co. Letrim. Iron Age in date and measuring approximately 14 cm...Read More »
This stunning flint macehead was found deep within the darkest recesses of the great Neolithic passage tomb at Knowth, Co. Meath. Hidden for millennia, it was discovered in 1982 during an excavation carried out by Dr George Eogan. It is fashioned out a single...Read More »
The remarkable tale of the Coggalbeg hoard. This story begins in March 1945 when a Roscommon farmer, Mr Hubert Lannon, was cutting turf on his bog in the west of Ireland....Read More »
The remarkable Broighter hoard, arguably the finest treasure trove of the Irish Iron Age, was discovered on a February evening in 1896 by two Derry men, Thomas Nicholl and James Morrow. They...Read More »
This photo shows the Aghadoe Crozier, a beautiful 12th century artefact found at Aghadoe, County Kerry in 1848. The crozier is intricately carved out of walrus ivory and is decorated in the Viking Urnes style. It also...Read More »
An exceptional collection of Bronze Age artefacts was recently found near Mitchelstown in County Cork (Kiely & Sutton 2007). They included a ceramic spoon and three pottery vessels, two of...Read More »
Another ancient body has just been recovered from the depths of an Irish bog. This time the remains consist of a partial bog body that appears to have been covered in a leather bag (update: the...Read More »
An unusual prehistoric artefact was recovered during the archaeological excavation of one of a pair of Middle Bronze Age structures identified at Knockgraffon, Co. Tipperary (along the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown Road scheme, see McQuade, Molloy & Moriarty 2009). Each of the structures was defined by a circle of postholes...Read More »