Co Down man saves rare Viking ring - despite wife's plea to bin it
Monday, September 09, 2013 - 04:35 PM
A man who ignored his wife’s request to bin a dirty piece of metal he found in a field has been toasting his instincts after it was declared to be a rare silver Viking ring.
Instead of throwing away the dirt-encrusted object, David Taylor from Co Down, Northern Ireland gave it a good wash and phoned the nearest museum to ask advice.
Almost 18 months on, the grimy object he spotted lying on a stone in his brother-in-law Andrew Coulter’s freshly ploughed field near Kircubbin on the Ards peninsula was today officially ruled to be treasure.
Mr Taylor, who was helping Mr Coulter remove stones from the field at the Inishargy Road, said he was glad he did not listen to his wife Lynda.
“She thought it was a bull ring and said ’throw that in the bin’,” he laughed after the ruling at a special treasure trove inquest hearing at Belfast coroner’s court.
“I just knew by the shape of it, it was something.”
The bracelet-shaped artefact, which has been dated back to between 950 – 1100 AD, will now go for valuation by experts at the UK Treasure Valuation Committee.
Thought to have originated in Shetland or the Orkney isles – which were then ruled by Viking leaders including the sinisterly named Thorfinn the Skull Splitter – such finds are rare in Ireland.
As well as a piece of jewellery, experts believe it was also used as an early form of currency before a coinage system became widespread in Viking cultures.
At almost 45 grams, it is close to the weight of two Viking ounces.
John Sheehan, archaeologist from University College Cork, told coroner Suzanne Anderson that the field where the ring was found lay close to the remains of a medieval church.
He explained that religious sites were often used as a storage place for valuable items.
With clashes between Viking settlers and native Irish commonplace, the expert suggested the ring may have been taken out of Scandinavian hands.
“Maybe it fell into Irish hands and as a result of that ended up deposited for safe-keeping at a church site but then got lost,” he said.
As well as feeling vindicated for not chucking the ring, Mr Taylor was also thankful that he decided to help out his brother-in-law on the evening of the find in April last year.
“The night I went to help Andy lift the stones, he says ’nobody ever helps me lift stones’,” he said.
Irish Examiner live news app for smartphones lets you quickly access breaking news, sport, business, entertainment and weather.
Irish Examiner ePaper app gives you the entire newspaper delivered to your phone or tablet for as little as 55c a day.
IF you're not a big fan of fantasy and despair at all the wizards and dragons on TV, on film and in books, then you should blame John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Or, go back 1,000 years and blame the unknown author of Beowulf, with its monsters and kings. Or, go back another two millennia and blame Homer's epic tales of gods and heroes.
IRFU chiefs fear any boycott of the Heineken Cup or a similar European competition by English and/or French clubs could result in a €12m hit and place the union and the four provinces in a perilous financial position.
THEATRICAL stalwart Catherine Mahon-Buckley has surely earned the title of Mammy of Cork pantomime season now that she is directing her 20th seasonal show for the Everyman. Mahon-Buckley is directing Jack and the Beanstalk for the theatre, and says that every five years, a new generation emerges.
SCIENCE and art don't always make the easiest bedfellows. However, when photographer Mick Mackey travelled to the sub-Antarctic island of Bird Island for a 30-month stint as a field biologist he was able to utilise his eye for detail to capture images that are not only technically proficient, but also vibrant, occasionally quirky and highly evocative.
Contrary to the minority, it was indeed a year of progress for the Cork hurlers; a first championship victory over Kilkenny since 2004, the unearthing of new talent in Séamus Harnedy and an end to their seven-year absence from the September showpiece.