You’ve got mail
Family donate unique chain mail find to Granard’s Knights & Conquests
Experts in the National Museum are to examine an archaeological discovery that local historians speculate may hark back to Viking times.
It is hoped the artefact will be verified as a centuries old chain mail, making it “one of the most important finds in Europe”. General Manager of Granard’s Knights & Conquests, Bartle D’Arcy, told The Anglo-Celt details of the chain mail, known as a hauberk, discovered by a Longford farmer while excavating a ditch.
Bartle said there is an explosion of interest in the find since its announcement.
“It’s gone viral. Many people have come here to see the hauberk. The fact that it came into our possession during Heritage Week is really important. It shows the value of the heritage we have.”
The artefact came to the attention of the heritage centre by chance.
“We had a huge re-enactment day called Norman People as part of National Heritage Week on Sunday, August 15,” Déirdre Orme, the Education and Tour Officer with the Knights & Conquests, explained. “The Horsemen of Eire did a scene depicting the O’Farrell’s reaction upon the arrivals of the De Tutes in 1199 AD. A local family arrived on site. We were togged out in all the gear. They approached us and said ‘We have some of that in our shed’, referring to our coifs.”
Three days later the family arrived at the Granard’s Knights & Conquests with the chain mail. Bartle believes it’s a unique find: “It’s a child’s hauberk. We have a talented Danish archer in our Wolfshead Company of archers. He is a re-enactor and he knows his stuff. We examined the ringlets together. There are no pliers marks, no saw marks. Chain mail was really expensive, so this was for a high status child.”
He says the heritage centre was contacted by media outlets from across the globe: “It was on the Ancient Origins website this morning, we were also contacted by journalists from Denmark. It has gone all around the world. It really has put Granard on the map.”
Déirdre emphasised the importance of the find: “There has never been anything like this found in Europe. To have an intact hauberk is amazing. Archaeologists have come across fragment, but nothing as intact as this one.”
Bartle speculates that the mail may date back to Viking times. He suggested the reason for the high level of preservation: “It was in water, the peat preserved it. It was dug out of a drain, then kept in a bucket in a shed for two years.”
Bartle has gone to the National Museum of Ireland about the find. The National Museum of Ireland told The Anglo-Celt they could not comment on the authenticity of the find until it has been assessed by their experts.