Brian Boru descendant to enlist Pope's help in finding High King's original crown
As a new Millennium Brian Boru crown was gifted to the nation, Lord Inchiquin, the direct descendant of the greatest High King of Ireland, has revealed that he is on the trail of the original crown – entrusted to the Vatican almost 1,000 years ago.
Lord Inchiquin aka Conor O'Brien – also known as The O Briain as current head of the 850,000-strong worldwide clan – believes that the crown originally worn by his 32nd generation ancestor may still lie in the Vatican vaults.
And he has appealed to the Papal Nuncio to help find it.
The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles John Brown, admitted that this was the first he had heard that "we might have it", but said: "If anyone can find it, Pope Francis can," revealing that the Pope would relish the role of Indiana Jones.
On the eve of celebrations marking the commemoration of the Battle of Clontarf on Good Friday 1014, Lord Inchiquin joined Tourism Minister Jimmy Deenihan and cancer specialist Dr John Crown and other guests yesterday, as the new gold crown was unveiled in the Round Room of Dublin Castle.
Simple and asymmetrical, as would have been customary 1,000 years ago, the crown was made thanks to the gold castoffs – mostly forlorn single cufflinks – from Prince Albert of Monaco, Michael Smurfit, clan leaders and Irish nobility, along with many others donors.
The scheme was the brainchild of cancer survivor, Alison McCormick, of Jewels for Cures. The non-profit organisation raises funds for the Cancer Clinical Research Trust (CCRT) and the project took 18 months to come to fruition.
Dr Crown – who helped set up the CCRT – thanked Alison for her funding efforts and declared: "We are winning the war against cancer."
Alison had originally intended to auction the crown off but then decided to donate it to the Irish people as to gift to mark the historical commemorations.
Alison told the Irish Independent that she hopes somebody will donate the value of the crown to their charity in the name of the Irish public.
"How could we sell the crown?" she asked, adding that it will go on display at Dublin Castle for the week of the commemorations until April 25 before going on tour throughout the country.
"We think it will ultimately end up in the throne room at Dublin Castle," she said.
Meanwhile, the crown has been left unfinished, with donations of gold still welcome to create a final medallion to finish it. She has already collected a piece from the head of the Northern O Neill clan, she said, adding that she hopes the crown will become a symbol of unification for all of Ireland.
Goldsmiths, Se O'Donoghue and Lee Harding of Da Capo goldsmiths in Dublin described it as "the ultimate commission".
Anyone wishing to donate to Jewels for Cures can find more information at jewelsforcures.ie, while those donating €250 or more worth of gold will have their name included in an Descendancy Scroll which will be kept with the crown.