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    The Irish Silver Museum – home to one of the largest collections of Irish silver in the world – was officially opened by the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe today. Using beautiful objects the museum, which is open daily, offers visitors a journey through Irish history from the arrival of the Vikings to our entry to the EEC in 1973. Located at ‘The Deanery’ building in Cathedral Square the museum stands above a medieval wine vault dating to the 1440s, celebrates the skills of Irish silversmiths and showcases our social, economic and political history.

    Highlights include the Waterford kite brooch, a sword granted to the city by Edward IV, silver which belonged to Dean Jonathan Swift, and pieces from the most powerful families in Ireland alongside medals and commemorative items associated with great events in Irish history. Additional pieces on display are the Cheltenham Gold Cup won by ‘Minella Indo’ and the Randox Grand National trophy won by ‘Minella Times’ in 2021, presented by Henry de Bromhead.

    The Waterford Kite brooch Ireland’s finest piece of early 12th century secular metalwork.

    Minister Donohoe said, “As Minister for Finance I am delighted that Section 1003 of the Finance Act enables important elements of our national and much-valued heritage to remain in or be repatriated to the country, to be enjoyed not just by the privileged owners of old but all the people of Ireland and visitors to our shores”, the finance minister said. “I know that many of the items in this museum have been repatriated from overseas and collectively they show the richness and diversity in the craft of silver that has been practiced in Ireland for over twelve hundred years.”

    Museum Director Eamonn McEneaney said that Irish silver has been a prized metal since the Viking period. “Most of the objects in the museum feature the initials of their makers and the coat of arms of their owners which allows each beautifully crafted piece to tell its own story, thus giving us a remarkable window into the past.”

    The Irish Silver Museum offers examples from the most talented Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Youghal, Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir silversmiths of the 1700s, including Ireland’s rare female silversmiths. Waterford-based goldmith Paul Sullivan hosts his workshop and shop on the ground floor so that visitors can enjoy watching pieces of jewellery being created. The City of Waterford can now boast five award winning museums all located in the Viking Triangle.

    During the 1798 Rebellion, republican rebels, many of them Presbyterians, occupied the town of Ballymoney in County Antrim. When the town was captured by advancing British forces under the command of Lord Henry Murray, he ordered that it be burned to the ground. These two silver cups made by  John Lloyd of  Dublin in 1798, were presented to Lord Murray in gratitude for ‘restoring tranquillity’ to the local area.

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