"" Writer's Wanderings: Irish Treasure

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Irish Treasure

In my quest to discover what secret I might create to write about in a new mystery book, Secrets Among The Shamrocks, I started researching treasure that has been discovered in Ireland. There's a lot to feed this novelist's imagination.

Two boys, Paddy Flanagan and Jim Quinn, were digging in a potato field near Ardagh, Co Limerick, and found a chalice from the 8th or 9th century that also contained several brooches. I remember my brother and I digging in a field that belonged to our neighbor. All we discovered were potatoes but thought it was a real treasure. When we took them to my mother, she made us return them to our neighbor and apologize for digging in his potato field.

Irish peat bog
Now the next story gives me a little more to chew on. In 1945 a man digging in a peat bog (they dry the peat and use it for heat in the winter) found gold jewelry. The items were over 4,000 years old. He kept them for a time then for some reason gave them to the village pharmacist who put them in his safe. They stayed there for over 50 years which is when the story gets even better. Some burglars broke into the pharmacy and stole the safe. The pharmacist then informed the police that there were some artifacts in the safe that the National Museum might interested in. With some good detective work the burglars were found and the artifacts recovered and eventually put on display in the museum.

And then there is the mystery of the Crown Jewels which really don't involve a crown and had little to do with coronations. The jewels were under the safe keeping of the Ulster King of Arms. They were discovered stolen in 1907. They had been kept in a bank vault until 1903 when they were moved to a safe in the library of the Dublin Castle. A man named Sir Arthur Vicars was in charge of the two keys to the safe. He reportedly lost one for a time but it was found on another key chain. When the theft was discovered, he blamed his two heralds especially the one named Francis Shackleton (brother of the famed Arctic explorer) who had a rather notoriously bad reputation. Vicars lost his job, the jewels were never recovered and most agreed it was probably Shackleton who likely broke apart the jewelry and sold the gems. Hmmm. Could that be my secret to write?

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