TARA, CO. MEATH
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF IRELAND, DUBLIN
The Tara hoard, which includes two gold torcs, demonstrates a considerable technical
ability among the Irish Celts, who presumably produced such objects for both export
and domestic markets. This torc is unusual in comparison to other torcs because
it was flange twisted; four rectangular gold bars were hammered into thin flanges
on an anvil and very closely twisted. The terminals are soldered separately to
the ends of the torc and are turned back to hook onto one another. One of the
terminals extends approximately 13 cm. and ends in a small conical knob that has
moulding attached to the inner end.
According to Raftery, Tara
is one of the best-known early Irish royal sites. A peasant boy found this torc
along with another flanged torc in the side of
a clay rath in 1810. The hoard consists of only two flanged torcs.
In comparison to other flanged
torcs, this object is much more elaborate because of the terminals and the close
twisting. It is also one of the largest and the heaviest torcs; it weighs approximately
27 ounces. According to Wilde, the torc was probably worn obliquely across the
breast with the projecting terminal used to hold the bridle-rein. Eogan suggests
that the torc is so large that it could have been worn around the waist.
- Petrie, 1832, pp. 156-7.
- Petrie, 1839, pp. 181-2.
- Petrie, 1841, pp. 274-6.
- Wilde, pp. 71-2.
- Macalister, pp. 225,
- Armstrong, pp. 20-2,
- Eogan, pp. 45-60.
- Eogan, pp. 132, 133,
- Mitchell, pp. 49-50.
- Raftery, p. 19.
- Taylor, pp. 62, 109.
- Cahill, 1983, pl. 9a.
- Harbison, fig. 83, p.
- O’Kelly, p. 181.
- Cahill, 1991, pp. 83-4.