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

Moylough Belt Shrine
16, Jun 2009 - 18:54

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Moylough Belt Shrine

A Medieval Treasure from County Sligo




The closing date for the Moylough Belt Shrine exhibition has been extended. Currently on display in the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, this unique and timeless treasure from County Sligo can now be viewed until Spring 2010.


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.


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

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