Many of our pieces in Claddagh Design are based on famous Irish treasures. These artifacts can be seen in the Irish Antiquities division of the National Museum of Ireland. This department contains the national archaeological collection and includes the treasures of the Irish prehistoric, Celtic, Early Christian and medieval eras. The museum is housed in their Kildare Street premises in Dublin.
The National Museum began it's life as the Museum of Science and Art which was founded in 1877. This was as a result of campaiging from the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) for government funding to maintain and expand their museum activites. In response to this the parliament of the day decided to establish a state run museum whereby the collections and the buildings of the RDS were transferred to state ownership. This collection was further enhanced by the acquisition of other notable collections from institutes such as the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and Trinity College Dublin. Interestingly Oscar Wilde's father Sir William Wilde was an archaeologist with the RIA and published the first collection of gold ornaments for them in 1862.
The museum went from strength to strength with such famous acquisitons as the Broighter Hoard. This collection of first century BC Celtic gold ornaments found it's way to the museum after a legal battle with the British Museum.
On visiting the museum today you can see some of the country's most famous works such as the Tara Brooch and Ardagh Chalice. Also on display is the amazing exhibition of Bronze Age gold artifacts which is one of the greatest museum collections in Europe.
Despite the changes in the museum, their aim has remained the same, to display and preserve the artifacts of the country.
Have a look around our jewelry store and see how many of our pieces have been inspired by this wonderful collection.