Viking-type sword

A sword recovered from the river Moy, near Foxford, Co. Mayo.

Viking-type sword (N.M.I. Collection - 1963:69)

This sword was dredged from the river Moy at Coolcronaun, near Foxford in 1963.  Coolcronaun sword handle (N.M.I. Collection - 1963:69) Western People - October 1963

It is a Viking type of sword, probably made in Scandinavia around c.925-975 AD and brought to Ireland by a Viking warrior. However, its final owner could have been either a Viking or an Irish warrior. A very similar sword, found in the river Shannon near Banagher, Co. Offaly in 2012, could have belonged to a warrior on one of the ships that Brian Boru frequently sent up the Shannon in the late 10th century.

  Banagher viking sword (N.M.I. Collection - 2012:227)

This Mayo sword has suffered a lot of damage and corrosion during a thousand years in the Moy. The crossguard, which protected the user’s hand at the top of the blade is gone and there are also parts missing at the end of the blade. But our investigations tell us it was a well-made sword, with an inscription in the blade and inlaid silver decoration on the pommel (and probably on the missing crossguard). It must originally have belonged to a relatively wealthy and important warrior. Carol Smith, Conservation Department, National Museum of Ireland

The finder of the Coolcronaun sword, Eamonn O'Connor was a native of Ballybunion, Co. Kerry. He lived in Foxford and worked with the OPW on the Moy Drainage scheme when he found the sword in 1963. Later, he moved back to Kerry to work on the Maigue Scheme.