Wednesday 22 May 2019

Lucky gold lunula goes on show

Shane Hickey

IT was a discovery made after a series of "conjoined freaks of good luck".

The National Museum yesterday proudly put on show 4,000-year-old jewellery which was found in a safe that was recovered from a skip following a robbery on a rural chemist.

The priceless early Bronze Age goldwork, which includes a necklace and two discs, dates back to between 2,300 and 1,800BC.

However, the story of how it was discovered, stored, stolen and later recovered is almost just as remarkable.

The necklace, called a gold lunula, and discs which were worn by early kings were found by farmer Hubert Lannon when he was cutting turf in a bog in Coggalbeg, Co Roscommon, in March 1945.

Two years later, he passed them on to Patrick Sheehan, the local Strokestown chemist, who stored them in a safe where they stayed until February last year when two raiders took the entire safe during an opportunistic burglary.

After being notified of the contents of the safe, curators from the National Museum contacted the gardai and a massive search was launched, ending in a skip in Dublin -- just a few hours before the refuse was expected to be collected.

The skip was secured overnight by a garda while the search for the safe was left to two detectives who eventually found the extremely light (just 78g) jewels fully intact. Yesterday, staff from the museum looked proudly over the latest addition to their collection, which has been lauded as one of the most highly important archaeological discoveries for many years. "There is a whole lot of conjoined freaks of good luck to make it possible," museum director Pat Wallace said.

The discs found with the necklace are two of just 21 in Ireland and it is the first time that the items have been found together.

Irish Independent

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