[Gold artefacts found in a bog in Co. Tyrone]

Plate representing two gold artefacts excavated from a bog.
These objects would now be described as a lunula (Fig. 1) and a dress-fastener (Fig. 2). The lunula is at present in the National Museum of Ireland.

Inscribed in Image

  • Caption within boundaries of image – Fig. 1. / Fig. 2.

Image Details

Genre Scientific or Technical illustration
Technique Engravings
Subject(s) Antiquities and archaeological sites
Geographical Location
  • Tyrone - County
  • Ulster - Province
Keywords(s) Antiquities, Gold
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 20 cm x 19 cm
Published / created 1778

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account A Philosophical Survey of the South of Ireland
Note Thomas Campbell
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy opp. p. 478
Source copy National Library of Ireland J.91414.CAN/1778
Alternative source

This is a link to a digital copy hosted by an external website.

Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

Fig. I. Plate facing last page, represents a very extraordinary piece of plated gold, which Thomas Foresyth, Esq; shewed me: it was found by his servant, cutting turf in a bog in the county of Tyrone. The crescent, if completed, would form a circle of about eight inches and a half diameter;—the distance between the horn or extremities of the crescent is two inches;—the diameter of the hollow five inches ;—the greatest breadth of the plate, three inches; at the end of the horns were two plates, cutting the other at right angles, each of which was larger than a six pence, but less than a shilling. What use it had been applied to I pretend not to determine, but conjecture it to have been a sort of gorget worn either by a Priest or a Judge. It was of so elastic a temper, that though the horns approached so near each other, it would open so as to receive a neck of moderate thickness.

Keating mentions a miraculous collar, called Jadh Morain, first worn by Fearaidach Fionfachtah, so called from his love of strict justice, in the beginning of the first century. This collar, he tells us, was endowed with a most surprising property, for if it was tied about the neck of an unjust Judge, who intended to pronounce false sentence, it would immediately shrink, and contract itself close so as [p. 477] almost to stop the breath; but if the Judge who wore it changed his resolution, and resolved to be just in his decision, it would instantly enlarge itself, and hang loose about the neck. This Jadh Morain was likewise used to try the integrity of witnesses in judicial affairs; and if it were put round the neck of a person who designed being a false witness, it continued closing, till it had either throttled him or extorted the truth. Such is the account of the wonderful collar, given by the father of Irish history ! Whether that we have seen is one of them, I leave the reader to judge.

Fig. 2. is a representation of a piece of gold now in the possession of Sir Capel Molyneux. It is about three inches diameter. What the use of it was, I dare not so much as guess. It has been conjectured, yet without much warrant even from the shape, that it had been used as a fibula for the old Irish mantle; but the Rev. Mr. Archdall shewed me casts in lead of several of them, which had been in the possession of Dr. Pocock, Bishop of Ossory, some of which were so small that the little cups or bell-like figures at the ends touched each other; and he had some without cups at all; which plainly proves that they never could have been intended for fibulas. Mr. Foresyth told me he had seen one, found in his neighbourhood, above [p. 478] twice the size; and a goldsmith assured me he had melted no less than four of them, some of which had been larger and some smaller than this one; and that he had heard of many more being sold, by the persons who found them, to other goldsmiths.

I must observe too, that Mr. Archdall shewed me a drawing of a plate of gold, in all respects like that represented Fig. I. only that it had not the two little transverse plates at the ends of the horns. [pp. 476-478]
Gold artefacts found in a bog in Co. Tyrone