The Ardagh Hoard

The Ardagh Hoard, from Co. Limerick, was found in 1868 by a youth digging potatoes in a ringfort where the treasure may have been concealed from raiding Vikings in the ninth or 10th Century. The objects found included a large decorated silver chalice, a smaller plain bronze chalice and four silver-gilt brooches. The chalices date to the eighth Century, while the brooches probably date to the ninth Century. The silver chalice is a native rendering of a type known from the eastern Mediterranean at a slightly earlier time. Particular attention was paid to ornamenting the rim, stem and handles by means of a variety of decorative techniques, including the use of glass studs with silver inlays, gold filigree panels and cast interlace and curvilinear designs. There are two decorated roundels on the bowl, while the base of the chalice, which would have been seen during the elevation of the wine, is also highly ornate, its overall design being centred on a polished conical crystal. Beneath the rim is a Latin inscription listing the names of the apostles.

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