Bronze Age 2000 - 500 B.C.

The Beaker people arrived in Ireland, from France, around 2000 B.C. bringing their artistic talents and knowledge of bronze with them. The discovery of metal is very significant in the history of Irish Art because metal was the first material that could be moulded into any shape. It was also much stronger than stone. However, this does not mean that stone was abandoned. Stone tools were still very important and there was also a strong pottery industry.

Ornaments found in Ireland

  • Sun disc

The sun disc is made from thin, flat sheets of gold and decorated with simple geometric designs using the repoussť technique. They contain two holes allowing the disc to be attached to clothes or a leather belt.

Example: Sun disc found at Tedavent, Co. Monaghan.

  • Lunula

This is a crescent shaped necklace or collar made from a flat gold sheet. Zigzags, triangles, and lozenges were incised into the surface.

Example: Gold lunula from Blessington.

  • Torc

A stiff neck ring made from a single piece, or from strands, of metal twisted.

Examples: Gold ribbon torc found near Belfast
†††††††††††††††† Long torc found at Tara, Co. Meath.

  • Fibula

A fibula is a dress fastener with two cup shaped discs connected by a bow.

The gold fibula found at Clones, Co. Monaghan is decorated with small concentric circles incised into the surface of the discs.

  • Gorget

This is an elaborate semi-circular collars with a gold disc at each end. The most famous is the Gleninsheen Gorget which can be seen in the National Museum, Dublin.

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