Brooch by Unknown Artist

This brooch is of a characteristically Irish type and although some 25 such brooches exits, only one other is held at the Ulster Museum.


Length: 17.8 cm
Art Fund grant:
£82,359 ( Total: £82,359; Tax remission)
Acquired in:
Trustees of the Proby 1972 Heirlooms Settlement (through Christie's)

The new acquisition is made of cast silver and decorated with raised bosses and interlaced birds; it was designed to fasten a cloak and was a symbol of wealth and status. Earlier Irish dress-fasteners were typically made of bronze and the bossed brooches manifest the increased availability of silver during the Viking age. It has been on loan to the National Museum of Ireland since July 2007 and will have a prominent place in the Ulster Museum when it reopens in 2009 following major rebuilding work.


Found at Ballyvolan Fort, near Kilmartin, Co. Wicklow; Earl of Carysfort; Private collection.

Venue details

Ulster Museum Botanic Gardens, Belfast County Antrim BT9 5AB 028 9044 0000

Entry details

Free entry to all
Free exhibition with National Art Pass

Tue – Sun, 10am – 5pm

Closed Mon (except on Northern Ireland Bank Holiday Mondays)