Faces From the Past with Bronagh Murray

Faces from the past: The enigma of Iron Age sculpture in Ireland

This is the last talk in the current annual HERoNI Lecture Series

Ireland has an enigmatic and ancient tradition of representational stone sculpture which emerged at, or perhaps just before, the dawn of written history. These supposed pre-Christian sculptures mostly take the form of stone heads, and are found in many locations across Ireland, with several concentrations in Ulster. The main focus of this lecture is a group from Co. Armagh located in Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral. These sculptures display a range of forms, with animals interpreted as dogs or bears, a figure of what has been interpreted as a solar deity, and the Tandragee Idol, which has been suggested as representing one of a number of characters from Early Irish mythology. This lecture will examine this tradition of sculpture in Ireland, its forms, iconography, dating, European comparanda and the rich folklore that surrounds them.

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