Ardnaglug Torcs

These are the Ardnaglug or Knock torcs, discovered in Ardnaglug bog in Knock townland in 1861. Dated to the 3rd century BC and likely imported from continental Europe, they are on display in the National Museum and a great early discovery from Taughmaconnell.

This torc on the left, known as a buffer torc,  is composed of two semi-circular tubes of gold that are connected in the back by a small box-like element, that allows the two halves to pivot, and in the front by opposing buffers. The buffers are soldered together and are flanked on each side by cones. At the tips of the cones are ridges decorated with spirals and protruding knobs.

This torc on the right, known as a ribbon torc, is very simply made in comparison to the buffer torc; a narrow gold ribbon was twisted and formed into a circle. In this example, the twisting is slightly imperfect and asymmetrical. The ends were worked into round rods that terminated in cones with recessed ends, on which were fitted hollow, spherical knobs, or expanded dish terminals.

The man who found these in 1861, claimed that he found them in a cavern in Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly. Archaeologist A. Ireland published an article for the Royal Irish Academy in 1992 in which he proved that the torcs were actually found in Ardnaglug bog in Knock, Co. Roscommon. Knock is only seven miles away from Clonmacnoise, and the bog actually spans both areas. Ireland believes that the man who originally found the torcs wanted to keep the find spot a secret so that he could have access to all other gold objects that could have been buried there.