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Rare 15th-century Irish chalice goes on display in New York

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Daniel Esparza - published on 04/27/23

Dating back to 1480, it is one of the few surviving chalices from the era.

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A rare Irish chalice dating back to the 15th century is currently on display at the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany, New York.

The gilt chalice was looted and taken from Ireland to England in the 16th century, following the Reformation. Irish entrepreneur Martin Dunphy took the chalice back to Ireland after acquiring in an auction in 2021 for almost $70,000. It was discovered in a barn in Dorset (England), and is currently on a tour around the United States, its first stop being the Irish American Heritage Museum.

Dating back to 1480, this is one of the few surviving chalices from the era. The chalice was recently used to celebrate Mass by Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington in Virginia. The Mass took place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

The executive director of the Irish American Heritage Museum, Elizabeth Stack, told the Times Union that the chalice is “important to the Irish story” since “a lot of these objects were lost during the Reformation […] Even though this is a very simple chalice, it is a great example of the craftsmanship that existed in Ireland in the time. It shows the determination of Irish Catholicism to survive despite the brutality of the monasteries and the Reformation.”

You can learn more about the museum and the chalice here.

Tags:
ArchaeologyIrelandUnited States
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