Rare 800-year-old gold brooch with mysterious inscription to go on display in Ireland
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Rare 800-year-old gold brooch with mysterious inscription to go on display in Ireland

A RARE 800-year-old gold ring brooch with a mysterious inscription is to go on display close to where it was found in Co. Kerry.

The item, one of around 150 ring brooches known from Ireland, is exceptional as it is made of gold rather than the more common copper alloy.

It is believed the medieval brooches, used to fasten gowns or cloaks, may have been offered as a sign of affection or as betrothal gifts.

The fascinating item, from the 13th or 14th century, has projecting hands and a blue tourmaline stone, similar to a sapphire.

On the front of the brooch is an inscription in Gothic-style lettering.

While most of the letters are legible, their meaning is unclear and experts at the National Museum of Ireland believe it may represent a type of code.

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The brooch may also have had a magical or talismanic association for the wearer.

The ring brooch, acquired by the museum in 2016, was found on Cloosmore Beach by Englishman Ian Andrew while he was on holiday in the Dingle Peninsula.

The item will go on display at Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne, Baile an Fheirtéaraigh in Tralee from 10am until 5pm this Friday and from 10am to 1pm on Saturday.

On its return to the National Museum of Ireland, the ring brooch will be displayed in an exhibition entitled Dressed to Impress at the National Museum of Archaeology in Kildare Street, Dublin.