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Museum of Country Life : Temporary Exhibitions Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Moylough Belt Shrine
By Bernie Byron
26, Jun 2008 - 22:10

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A unique and timeless treasure will be unveiled to the public tomorrow at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

The Moylough Belt Shrine: A Medieval Treasure from County Sligo is expected to remain on display until next Summer.

The Moylough Belt Shrine dates from the eighth century and is one of the great treasures of medieval Ireland.  The Moylough Belt Shrine was found in Moylough, Co. Sligo in the 1940s by local man John Towey when he was cutting turf.   It consists of four hinged sections made of bronze.  These contain fragments of a leather belt that was encased in a bronze shrine.  The Shrine was decorated with silver, glass and enamel.  Objects associated with saints in early Ireland were often preserved after the saint's death and placed in shrines or reliquaries.  These containers were often made of precious metals and richly decorated to reflect the importance of their contents. 

There are records of belt shrines in medieval Ireland which were used for oath swearing and curing illness. The Moylough Belt Shrine is the only known surviving example of a belt shrine in Ireland.

A lecture series and a number of education activities will take place from Autumn 2008 to complement the exhibition. All activities are free but booking is required. Further details available from the Education and Outreach Department.

Admission to the exhibition is free. Opening times: Tues-Sat: 10am – 5pm; Sun: 2-5pm. Closed Mondays (incl. Bank Holidays).

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