Bronze Age gold treasure trove found in Donegal

Bronze Age gold items discovered in County Donegal this week.  (Photograph by Caroline Carr/Donegal County Museum)
Bronze Age gold items discovered in County Donegal this week. (Photograph by Caroline Carr/Donegal County Museum)

A stunning treasure trove of gold artefacts from the Bronze Age have been discovered in Donegal, it has been confirmed.

The exciting prehistoric discovery has been handed over to the National Museum of Ireland with assistance from Donegal County Museum after the finders reported it to officials on Tuesday.

The 1st Century BC Broighter Gold haul discovered in Limavady in the 19th Century.

The 1st Century BC Broighter Gold haul discovered in Limavady in the 19th Century.

While officials have not confirmed the exact location of the find, it is understand it occurred by pure chance while people were working in a field in east Donegal.

The priceless haul of solid circular gold band coils may have been bullion or jewellery, possibly arm bands, although the purpose has not been confirmed.

The Bronze Age in Ireland lasted from around 2500 BC to around 500 BC, and it is likely the new discovery predates the stunning 1st Century BC Broighter Gold hoard find in the Limavady area in 1896.

Speaking about the new discovery, Donegal TD Joe McHugh said: “A discovery like this is so unique and precious. It is impossible to put a price on the value that it adds to our heritage.

“The finders deserve huge credit and thanks for their openness and for wanting to ensure that these unique artefacts are preserved for the benefit of others.

“This is the stuff of dreams and once again Donegal is being put on the map as one of the richest parts of the country for history and heritage.

“I look forward to seeing the gold on display and maybe one day it will return to Donegal to be exhibited in the county.”

Mr McHugh added: “I understand experts from the National Museum travelled to the site where the artefacts were discovered and carried out a thorough investigation of the area for evidence of how and when the important artefacts were deposited. I would like to thank them for their work.

“It’s also important to note the work of staff at the Donegal County Museum for their assistance with this discovery.”

Following their discovery, the artefacts were immediately removed from the site and transferred to The National Museum of Ireland.

They will be put on display as soon as initial investigations are concluded.