Irish history for more than three thousand years is graphically illustrated in an exhibit of arts and crafts of Eire which is now at the Fogg Museum. The display, loaned by the Irish government, will continue until February 15.
The oldest articles in the exhibition, dating back to the Early Bronze Age, about 4500 B. C., are a bracelet, spear, and several axes, of well-preserved bronze. The peoples who fashioned these articles lived many years before the Celtic invasion of Ireland.
Several swords, axes, and a spear, made in the Late Bronze Age, could be used even today. Two trumpets of the same period are also of bronze, and are shaped much like Australian boomerangs. These object were made by the first Celtic invaders of Ireland, from whom the Irish language comes.
Viking implements from a Norse cemetery near Dublin date from 850 to 1000 A.D. A set of scales, made of white metal and bronze, still retains its fragile supporting wires. A sword of the same period shows the name of its German maker on its handle.
Some of the oldest Irish coins in existence are included in the exhibition. The oldest of these was issued in the reign of Sihtric III, who reigned from 989 to 1029.
Under the instructions of King Turbough O'Connor in 1123 A. D., the Cross of Cong, of which a reproduction is on display, was made to hold a portion of the true cross. Still legible is the inscription "In this Cross is preserved the Cross on which the Founder of the world suffered."
A huge, 15 inch silver gilt bowl, made by Thomas Bolton, is in one of the cases. Its inscription reads. "The gift of the Honourable City of Dublin to Capt. George Sanders, commander of Her Majesty's ship Seaforth, for his signal services in taking two French privateers, being the first that were brought into this harbour this war. Anno. Dom. 1704."
Bottle of Swift
An Irish glass bottle, of jot black color, has "J. Swift, Dean, 1727" impressed on it. The name is that of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels.
Perhaps the most imposing of the items on exhibit are two Irish House of Commons Maces, made of silver gilt in London, 1765. The maces were symbols of office of the Lord Chancellor, who presided in the House of Lords, and of the Speaker of the House of Commons. This parliament might have become completely autonomous, but was abolished by the Act of Union of 1800, which united the British and Irish parliaments as one legislative body in London.
Many other interesting articles of glassware and porcelain are also on display, making the exhibit the most complete of its kind shown in Boston.