Home / About Us / News / November 2018 / ‘Prosperous Crozier’ goes on exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland

‘Prosperous Crozier’ goes on exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland

Thousand-year-old pastoral staff considered a very significant artefact. Crozier moves to the National Museum from Clongowes Wood College, where it has been for 180 years. 


The ‘Prosperous Crozier’ goes on public display at the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology today.

Considered to be a highly significant artefact surviving from Medieval Ireland, the Prosperous Crozier is the oldest, securely-dated, complete crozier from Ireland and Britain, and also one of the oldest in Europe.

Prosperous Crozier

Discovered in a bog near Prosperous in Kildare in 1839, the Prosperous Crozier has remained in the care of the Jesuit Community in Ireland since then, at Clongowes Wood College.  Its exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland is being made possible by the Jesuits Community and the Trustees of Clongowes Wood College. It will add to the significant collection of croziers already on permanent display in the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, on Kildare Street in Dublin.

Croziers take the form of a shepherd’s crook, symbolising the pastoral role of the Church in looking after its ‘flock’.  Croziers were recognised as potent symbols of power when in use. Dating between the 9th and 11th centuries AD, at 1.34m in height the Prosperous Crozier is also the tallest of the surviving early medieval Irish croziers.  An inscription on the crozier suggests that it was associated with St Mary’s Abbey in Dublin.

Keeper of Irish Antiquities with the National Museum of Ireland, Maeve Sikora, said; “We are thrilled to welcome the Prosperous Crozier to the National Museum of Ireland. It is a unique and highly significant artefact that was made around 1,000 years ago. We are fortunate to have been in a position to research this beautiful crozier before placing it on display.  The Jesuits at Clongowes cared for this crozier for many years, and through its study, their students undoubtedly gained a deep appreciation of this nation’s wonderful heritage. We are proud to continue this dual tradition of caring for and learning about this object for the years ahead.”

Fr Michael Sheil SJ, attending the launch on behalf of the Jesuits, said; “We are very fortunate in Clongowes to have had the Prosperous Crozier in our possession. It has been in the Community Archives for about 180 years. We are grateful to the National Museum for enabling us now to share it with the people of Ireland, for years to come. We hope that this treasure will be enjoyed and appreciated by all who come to see it. It is a reminder of our rich Christian heritage, providing a wonderful link to life in the Irish Church over a millennium ago. "

Chair of the Board of the National Museum of Ireland, Catherine Heaney, said: “As part of our rich medieval inheritance from monastic and Christian life in Ireland, the Prosperous Crozier links us back to the key role Ireland played as a place of learning and scholarship within Europe.  It is timely, in this week of commemoration and when we look ahead to Brexit, that we also take the time to celebrate the richness of our history.  Now to be displayed as part of the medieval exhibition, the Prosperous Crozier provides another stimulus for reflection on the richness, which has come before us.”

Director of the National Museum of Ireland Lynn Scarff said; “The National Museum of Ireland wishes to sincerely thank the Jesuit Community and the Trustees of Clongowes Wood College for the generous loan of this outstanding artifact to the Museum and we look forward to welcoming visitors to see the crozier on exhibit.”