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Early Christian Heritage

Early Christian Heritage

1. Book Shrine of Saint Molaisse

National Museum of Ireland

Copy-Fermanagh County Museum

The use of relics in Ireland dates back to the introduction of Christianity to Ireland. Relics of different saints were housed inside ornate structures that were made using various materials including, wood, metals and precious gems. The Molaisse Shrine or the Soiscél Molaisse is an 8th Century reliquary bronze box, that is believed to have held a book or gospel originally. It has links to Devenish Island in lower lough Erne.

Commissioned Researcher: Helen Lanigan Wood (original)

Commissioned Researcher: Dr Tara Kelly (copies)

 Book Shrine Of Saint Molaisse

19th Century copy of the St Molaisse Shrine. ©Fermanagh County Museum

2. River Erne Horn/Trumpet

National Museum of Ireland

The River Erne Horn dates to the Early Medieval Period. It was dredged from the bed of the River Erne, in Coolnaston  in 1956. It is thought to have been made from part of a yew tree.

Commissioned Researcher: Simon O'Dwyer & Richard Warner

BELUMA9637 Copyright National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum

© National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Museum

3. Double Figure, Boa Island

In Situ

This stone figure is from Caldragh Graveyard, Boa Island. It is often misnamed as the ‘Janus’ figure. The interpretation of the figure has changed dramatically since it’s original discovery when a previously unrecorded section was discovered in 2001.

Commissioned Researcher: Richard Warner

43968 Boa Island Copyright Fermanagh County Museum

© Fermanagh County Museum

4.Grave Stone with Irish Inscription, Kilcoo Church

In Situ

This grave stone or cross slab is from the Early Chrisitan site at Kilcoo. It is significant in that it has an irish inscription and lartin cross carved onto the stone. It commerates a Maelcluchi and is believed to date to around the 9th Century.

Commissioned Researcher: Helen Lanigan Wood

20141126 FCM Gravestone Copyright Fermanagh County Museum

© Fermanagh County Museum

5. White Island Carved Figures

In Situ

These stone figures from White Island are now housed in a recess that was built to accomodate them. The six figures are thought to date to the 9th Century. They differ in height and detail and are believed to have been created as a structural element within the church.

Commissioned Researcher: Helen Lanigan Wood

White Island Figures Copyright Fermanagh County Museum

©Fermanagh County Museum

6. Bird-headed Comb from Drumclay Crannóg

Fermanagh County Museum

This comb was discovered during the excavation of the Drumclay Crannóg. It is one of only 8 found in Ireland and dates to between 7th and mid 8th century. It is made from red deer antler and is decorated with two bird heads.

Commissioned Researcher: Dr Nora Bermingham

Drumclay Crannog Comb

© Fermanagh County Museum

7. Tomb Shaped Shrines from Lower Lough Erne

National Museum of Ireland

These tomb shaped shrines were discovered in 1891 by a man fishing in Lower Lough Erne. They shrines were made from bronze and the smaller one is a minature replica of the larger one. The larger shrine is the largest known shrine of its type that has been discovered.

Commissioned Researcher: Dr Peter Harbison

8. Bog Butter found near Tempo

Fermanagh County Museum

This bog butter was discovered in a bog in Carrownagiltagh, near Tempo. It is 35lb in weight. The butter is thought to be ancient but no difinitive date has been published.

Commissioned Researcher: Dr Liam Downey

Bog Butter

© Fermanagh County Museum

9. Bronze Bell from Devenish 

National Museum of Ireland

Bronze bells have been discovered across Ireland and are often associated with Monastic sites. This bell is thought to have been from Devenish Island but is recorded as being from near Devenish in NMI’s records. The bell possibly dates to before the year 900 although no evidence survives to support this assumption.

Commissioned Researcher: Dr Peter Harbison

10. Pennanular Brooch from Carrontreemall

National Museums Northern Ireland

This brooch is a zoomorphic pennanular brooch. Pennanular broochs are named as the ring is incomplete ending in two decorative plates. The term zoomorphic relates to the animal heads that are featured on the ends of the ring. It dates to the 5th or 6th Century AD. The brooch was found in Carrontreemall near Belcoo.

Commissioned Researcher: Richard Warner

BELUMA7033 View1 Copyright National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum

© National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Museum

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