Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage - Making places with objects

Jet cross
Courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland
Decorated copper-alloy gilt mount
Courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland
Copper-alloy ringed pin with interlace decoration
Courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland
Copper-alloy ring brooch
Courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland
Courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland

On September 17th 2020 an new exhibition about Glendalough opened at the National Museum on Dublin’s Kildare Street.

Curated by Matt Seaver and Maeve Sikora, it features 26 objects associated with Glendalough’s long history. These items have never been on view to the public before.

Despite reasonably rich historical evidence, archaeology, and in particular portable objects, provide important physical evidence for life in this important early monastery. Partnership between archaeologists, park administrators and local authorities and the local community at Glendalough has allowed a rich approach to making places through heritage.

Exhibition Pieces

Twenty-six objects which have never been exhibited before celebrate this special place. Researching these objects brings rich insights into the lives of both the humble and powerful who travelled as pilgrims or who lived at Glendalough.

Some of these objects were chance discoveries while others came from carefully planned archaeological investigations. From a tenth century woman’s leather shoe lost in a Glendalough bog to the decorated pin of an eleventh century bishop praying on the windswept mountainside these objects and their stories are carefully cared for at the National Museum of Ireland.

National Significance

Glendalough is of national significance as the story of a saint who became intertwined with landscape, buildings and objects as Christianity transformed medieval Ireland. The major players in medieval Ireland were all involved from the Vikings, bishops and abbots, to local and national kings.

The valley was also the centre of a struggle for power between Anglo-Norman and Gaelic worlds. Its landscape was transformed by industry and early tourism while remaining an important spiritual place for locals and travellers alike.

A Conversation with Matt Seaver, the curator of “Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage”

An online event taking a look at the just opened exhibition at the NMI – Archaeology, Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage, with the exhibition’s curator, archaeologist Matt Seaver.

An overview of the valley and its rich archaeological heritage will be given during a short film used in the exhibition that shows new drone footage and 3-d images of the buildings and landscape.

Then there will be a conversation about the artefacts in the exhibition including never before displayed objects such as one of the earliest suspended-bell ever found in Ireland, an early medieval shoe found on a nearby pilgrimage route and finds from the excavations carried out by UCD, School of Archaeology.

Watch the Conversation with Matt Seaver here.

Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage – Promo Video

The history of Glendalough is of national significance as the story of a saint who became intertwined with landscape, buildings and objects as Christianity transformed medieval Ireland. The major players in medieval Ireland were all involved from the Vikings, bishops and abbots, to local and national kings.

Watch the promo here.

Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage – Launch Event

Live stream of the Launch of the Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage Exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland.

Watch the Launch here.

Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage – Online Gallery

Objects which have never been exhibited before celebrate this special place.Researching these objects brings rich insights into the lives of both the humble and powerful who travelled as pilgrims or who lived at Glendalough.

Some of these objects were chance discoveries while others came from carefully planned archaeological investigations.
From a tenth century woman’s leather shoe lost in a Glendalough bog to the decorated pin of an eleventh century bishop praying on the windswept mountainside these objects and their stories are carefully cared for at the National Museum of Ireland.

Visit the Online Gallery here.

Glendalough: Power, Prayer and Pilgrimage – Visitor Information

Visitor information for this wonderful exhibition is available here.

 

 

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