GARDAI recovered four handguns after a man cutting trees became suspicious of an old paint can hidden by a ditch.
The can was badly rusted and a grease-like liquid was oozing from the container.
When the man examined the tin, he spotted what appeared to be weapons stored inside.
The gardai were notified and two revolvers and two pistols were discovered carefully wrapped in grease-proof binding within the can.
The weapons included two British-made .455 calibre Webley revolvers and two German-made 7.65mm calibre Mauser pistols.
The guns were removed from the scene in a townland outside Mitchelstown, Co Cork, for forensic analysis.
One garda source said it was as yet unclear how long the weapons had been stored there.