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

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.

Ulster Museum

Botanic Gardens, Belfast, County Antrim, BT9 5AB
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