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Ancient gold "hoard" found in Donegal to go on display

The beautiful gold rings were found on farmland in Donegal in June.
Seamus McKinney

A PRICELESS Bronze-age find of four gold rings discovered by farmer workers in Co Donegal is to go on display in a major exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland.

The solid gold rings, which were discovered near Convoy in June, have also been given an official name, the “Tullydonnell Hoard”, after the townland on which they were found.

The rings, dating back thousands of years, were unearthed on land being farmed by Norman Witherow. Large enough to fit around a wrist, it was believed the rings would have been worn as bracelets.

Mr Witherow told the Irish News at the time that he initially didn’t know what to do with the rings. When museum chiefs in Dublin were alerted they immediately realised the significance of the find and dispatched a team of experts to the area within hours of being informed.

The Donegal farmer said: “I couldn’t figure out what they were. They were covered in clay and we had no idea if they were gold or even copper.

“We had no idea of the value and we definitely didn’t appreciate their worth when we first discovered them.”

Mr Witherow said he was looking forward to viewing the rings with the other “finders” when they go on display next Wednesday.

Mr Witherow said the area where the rings were uncovered was one rich in historical significance. He suggested the rings may have been buried deliberately for security reasons by people visiting some of the many historical landmarks in the area such as the Beltony Stone Circle or the Grianan of Aileach sun fort in Inishowen.

Keeper of Irish antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, Maeve Sikora described the gold as an “important archaeological find.” She said it would reveal new information about the area around east Donegal and would add to the understanding of pre-historic Ireland and the richness of its culture.

The exhibition will be launched by Donegal TD and newly appointed Education Minister Joe McHugh.

County Donegal farmer Norman Witherow will travel to Dublin with the other finders next Wednesday for the launch of the Tullydonnell Hoard exhibition. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

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