Tullydonnell Gold hoard on display in Donegal County Museum

Tullydonnell Gold hoard on display in Donegal County Museum

Donegal County Museum in association with the National Museum of Ireland is delighted to announce that the Tullydonnell Lower Gold Hoard will be on display in Donegal County Museum between Tuesday, November 19 and Saturday, November 30.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Nicholas Crossan said: “The Council is delighted that the people of Donegal will now have an opportunity to see these remarkable artefacts over the coming two weeks. I want to pay particular thanks to the staff of the County Museum and congratulate them on this exhibition.  Without their hard work these extraordinary gold rings would not now be on display in Donegal.” 

The gold hoard, dating from the Late Bronze Age (1200 to 800BC) was discovered by chance in June 2018, when farmers took the opportunity of a dry summer to improve drainage at the base of a field at Tullydonnell Lower in East Donegal. They uncovered a small pit covered by a boulder which contained four solid gold overlapping rings. 

Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Museum of Ireland says, “The National Museum of Ireland is delighted to be working with Donegal County Museum to enable the display of the Tullydonnell Gold Hoard in Donegal. The Museum would like to recognise the significant cooperation of the finders and the local community in Donegal over the last 18 months. Working together we have been able to bring these exceptional four gold rings to Letterkenny so that as many people as possible from the locality can see these unique artefacts over the coming two weeks.”

Analysis of the metal has shown that they contain gold and small quantities of silver and copper consistent with Late Bronze Age Irish gold artefacts. Together these objects weigh over 4kg (8.8lbs). They are simply finished apart from hammered-up ends and are in perfect condition.

They are the heaviest intact prehistoric gold hoard ever found in Ireland. They may have been a way of storing bullion for manufacturing finer metalwork such as gorgets. It is believed that the gold ore may have originated in Cornwall, England.

Judith McCarthy, Curator of Donegal County Museum said, “The discovery of this national treasure is so exciting for Donegal because it gives us a rare and valuable insight into the Bronze Age archaeology of our county.”

The Gold Rings will go on display in Donegal County Museum from Tuesday 19 November at 10am.  We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to view these national treasures. 

The display of the Gold Rings has been part-funded by the Creative Ireland Programme and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 

Admission is free and all are welcome.  The Museum will be facilitating school tours but booking is essential.   Booking is also essential for groups. 

Opening hours 10am-4.30 pm Monday- Friday

The museum is facilitating special openings on Saturday 23rd November 11am – 4.30pm, Sunday 24th November 1pm- 4.30pm.

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