81 gold coins found during pub work
Published 29/01/2013 | 14:55
Builders carrying out stabilisation work on an old pub building have unearthed one of the most significant finds of gold coins ever recorded in Ireland.
Eighty-one coins, mostly guineas and half guineas dating back to the 17th century, were dug up from clay underneath floorboards in a fire-damaged premises on Main Street, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary.
Marie McMahon, curator at South Tipperary Museum in Clonmel, held the coins in storage before they were handed over to the National Museum of Ireland.
"We were told that they were gold and you never really believe it, normally you would find silver, but they were in fantastic condition," she said.
"There are one or two coins buckled and one tarnished, but overall fantastic condition. They'd be incredibly valuable but legally we would not be allowed to discuss that."
Experts at the National Museum, which is putting the coins on show for the first time on Wednesday, described the find as the most important in decades.
"No comparable 17th-century hoard of gold coins has been found in Ireland since the discovery in Portarlington, Co Laois, around 1947, of a hoard that contained little over 100 gold coins as well as some silver coins," a spokeswoman for the museum said.
The find is considered as important as the Derrynaflan Chalice for the Tipperary region.
The collection depicts the reigns of Charles II, James II and Mary and William III, who are featured in a joint portrait.
The hoard was unearthed by builders on January 14 as they lifted floorboards during groundworks at Cooney's pub in the town.