A history of Ireland in 100 objects by Fintan O'Toole

By Fintan O'Toole

Items do not simply have tales, they inform tales. yet what they stated to their contemporaries will be assorted from what they are saying to us. even if it is a silver tea urn from Georgian Dublin or an illuminated web page from the ebook of Kells, those gadgets aid us achieve a extra complicated figuring out of our previous. during the last years Fintan O'Toole has selected a hundred gadgets, the vast majority of which might be present in the National Read more...


The Irish occasions literary editor Fintan O'Toole selects a hundred gadgets to relate a heritage of Ireland. Read more...

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And it seems to be very, very old. The radiocarbon tests date the ash shaft somewhere between 811 and 673 BC. Halpin urges caution, but there is no reason why this date has to be regarded as wrong. It is the combination of this early date and its superb quality that makes this spear so startling. ‘We are beginning’, says Halpin, ‘to get other evidence for ironworking technology at an earlier date than we thought. The idea that ironworking was happening here in maybe 600 or 700 BC would not really be disputed any more.

At the beginning of the Late Bronze Age, complex twisting techniques replaced sheet gold-work. Whereas the older lunulae were a very clever way of making the most of a small amount of precious gold, the torcs seem to be designed to show off the amount of gold used to create them. They are intended for ostentatious display. Tara had been an important centre for three millennia before the torcs were made, but their awesome quality suggests that it had become considerably more so. ‘You get the sense’, says Kelly, ‘that Tara was not just about political power or even religious power.

New kinds of houses and pottery and the emergence of great passage tombs came with the development of farming, making it likely that the first farmers arrived from elsewhere—most probably Britain or (less likely) north-western France. Other big changes tended to happen in the same way. The emergence of metal-working (around 2500 BC) was probably the result of some inward migration of so-called Beaker people from Britain and continental Europe. The development of an elite warrior culture about a thousand years later seems to be associated with the presence of at least some foreigners from as far away as central Europe, and is certainly linked to intense contacts with Britain and the continent.

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