Documentation Discoveries

documentation teams working on the collections
Find out about rare objects, exciting collections and unusual specimens discovered in the course of the museum’s Five Year Inventory Project. 
A possible carved ivory gaming piece, depicting a bear and a Greenlander
A Bear, a Sea-horse and a Greenlander – the fascinating origins of a possible carved ivory gaming piece

A curious carved ivory object shows an attack scene between a possible polar bear and a Greenlander.

Figure 1 The Disc
Rathbarran Lunar Disc

Discovered in county Sligo in the mid-nineteenth century among the Rathbarran grave goods and transferred to the Science and Art Museum in 1890, it has been suggested that this most unusual disc might be a lunar disc.

One of two harps carved from the shoulder blades of an animal
Irish Republican POW Bone Carvings

These two harps were carved from the shoulder blades of an animal. They were carved by Irish Republican POWs interned in the Curragh, Co. Kildare, 1923.

Mounted taxidermy bird
Barrington’s Bird Collection

The “Fassaroe Natural History Collection” was bequeathed to the National Museum of Ireland in October 1916 following the death of R.M. Barrington in 1915.

Eozoon canadense- a pseudo fossil
A Canadian Pseudo-Fossil

This specimen was once thought to represent the earliest life on Earth.

A great bittern from County Wicklow
Great Bitterns in Ireland

The bittern was a common bird in Ireland until the mid-19th century. It used to live here all year round but is a rare winter visitor nowadays.

Bodhrán, c.1820

A nineteenth century example of an Irish musical instrument.

postcard sent home - Allies flags stitched
Thomas and Joseph McEnroe – Two Brothers’ Experience of World War I

This photograph album tells the story of Dublin brothers Thomas, a professional soldier in the British Army, and Joseph McEnroe, a volunteer who enlisted in 1916. Their combined service covered the war years from 1914 to 1919.

Four handled wooden medieval mether.
Medieval Irish Mether

A ceremonial drinking vessel with body and handles crafted from one piece of wood.

The elephant bird egg
An Elephant Bird Egg from Madagascar

The elephant bird is an extinct species of large flightless bird, which once inhabited the island of Madagascar.

Flax Clove
Flax Clove, c.1850

A 19th century Flax Clove, known in Irish as a Tlú Lín.

The Harp of Turlough O’Carolan, the Irish Bard.
O’Carolan’s Harp

A late 17th Century harp, stated to have belonged to Turlough O’Carolan, the Irish Bard.

Daggers made from flint
Late Neolithic Flint Daggers from Denmark

What can one small object tell us about status and industry in prehistoric society?

Dimerocrinus decadactylus
A Fossil Crinoid: Dimerocrinus decadactylus

A beautifully preserved fossil crinoid dating from the Silurian period, 443 to 416 million years ago.

Tin mug
Tin Objects made by Donegal Traveller and Musician

A look at two simple tin objects made by Mickey Doherty in the 1950s, a well-known Donegal traveller and musician.

Deck of tarot cards
A Deck of Italian Tarot cards

A richly illustrated deck of Italian Tarot cards, made in the 19th century.

Impressions on An Ancient Shore

A piece of sandstone from Scrabo, Co. Down, and the vanished world it represents.

Trabolgan Stone Head
A Face from the Past

A Possible Iron Age Anthropomorphic Stone Carving from Trabolgan, Co. Cork

Silver Hoard
A silver hoard and the "Tara" Brooch: the discrepancy over their findplace

The story of how a hoard of silver jewellery became associated with the “Tara” brooch is a curious one.

Apple snail from Paraguay
An Apple Snail from Paraguay

This apple snail was collected in Paraguay in the 19th century.

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