#OTD in 1980 – The Derrynaflan Chalice and other ancient silver and bronze pre-Christian antiquities are discovered in Derrnaflan Island, Co Tipperary.

The Derrynaflan Chalice is part of a hoard of altar vessels found in 1980 on a monastic site at Derrynaflan, a small island of mineral soil in Killeens bog in Tipperary. An excavation undertaken by staff of the National Museum recovered some missing components of the decorated objects, such as gold filigree panels, die-stamped mounts and rivets.

The silver chalice is comparable to the Ardagh Chalice, though it is generally considered to be less elegant. Its decoration is simpler, and the filigree is not as finely executed. It is probably slightly later in date than the Ardagh Chalice. The bowl is made of beaten silver that has been lathe-polished. The bowl stem and foot are attached by a large pin that locks on a decorated catch-plate on the underside of the foot. Two handles attached to the bowl contain recesses into which panels of gold filigree are set in place with stitching. Amber studs also decorate the handles and are placed at intervals along the applied band of filigree decoration around the bowl.

The Derrynaflan hoard is one of the most spectacular hoard discoveries in Ireland, which led first to an increase in enthusiasm for metal detecting as a hobby, but ultimately contributed to the prohibition of unlicensed searching for archaeological material.

Image | Derrynaflan Chalice | National Museum of Ireland


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