3000 year old Bronze Age sword returns to Fermanagh & is put on display at Enniskillen Castle

30th July 2021

Bronze age Sword

The Bronze Sword recently bought by Enniskillen Castle’s Fermanagh County Museum for £7500 at an auction in Dublin has arrived back in Fermanagh and is now on display at Enniskillen Castle

Following significant interest from the local community and interested individuals, a funding collaboration between several local organisations and groups, including Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund), the Association of Friends of the Fermanagh County Museum and several private individuals secured the necessary funds to put together what was ultimately a successful bid to bring the sword back to Fermanagh.

A consortium of interested parties headed up by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and comprising the Association of Friends of the Fermanagh County Museum, Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, National Lottery Heritage Fund together with several private individuals secured the necessary funds to put together what was ultimately a successful bid to bring the sword back to Fermanagh.

The Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson said;

“The 3000 year old Bronze Sword is very impressive and I am delighted that Fermanagh County Museum at Enniskillen Castle has obtained this beautiful sword to put on display for visitors to admire. It is important that the sword has returned “home” and I am very much looking forward to learning more about its origins and its history.”

Sarah McHugh, Museum & Heritage Manager said:  “We’ve all been living in a world of the ‘virtual ‘and the ‘digital’ for the last year. But ‘digital’ and ‘virtual’ cannot replace an ‘actual,’ be it an actual person, or in this case, an actual sword.  The sword has had quite a journey getting here and the fact that it is here is a credit to the people locally and our funders.  It’s such a lovely success story. We now have this sword here, with thousands of years of history and so many stories to tell.  We’re delighted that we now have it on display for everyone to enjoy.  ”

Lough Erne Landscape Partnership Programme Manager Elmarie Swanepoel stated:  ““I am really pleased that we at Lough Erne Landscape Partnership could help make this happen for the people of Fermanagh, I really hope that this will inspire many more people to get involved with the rich heritage and come to the Museum to have a look at this unique find that is so special in many ways.”.

Jim McGreevy, Committee Member, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:  “We are delighted that through the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, we’re able to support the acquisition of this unique heritage asset, and bring it back to County Fermanagh where its story began thousands of years ago.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, and the work of local groups, the rich history of this sword will be protected and preserved for many years to come.

“It’s exciting that local people and visitors will also now have an opportunity to see the sword on display at Enniskillen Castle and explore the many stories connected with its past.”

Esdille Lappin, Chair of the Association of Friends of Fermanagh County Museum said:  “It’s in such fine condition.  The Museum Friends are really indebted to the people who discovered it was for sale at auction, earlier this year.  It’s great to have in back in Co Fermanagh and here in Enniskillen.  I look forward to being able to tell visitors to the Museum all about it and to spread the word that is here.  It will be of great interest to schoolchildren who visit the Museum and take part in the Museum’s education programmes. ”

Barney Devine said:  “This is an excellent addition to the museum’s collection. The sword is similar in style to the sword found in the Arney River which had been cut in half in half because it had been decommissioned before being placed in the water. Bronze age weapons are often found in watery places, and many have been deliberately destroyed. However, in this instance it’s fabulous to have a full length undamaged sword and to see where the rivets secured its wooden handle and pommel. It’s a beautiful thing and it will take pride of place in the Museum. It’s great that it has come to Enniskillen.”

This sword is a rare and very fine example from the Late Bronze Age, around 1000 to 600 BC. Its two-edged blade measures 41 cm in length; its T-shaped hilt at the top has holes for the attachment of a wooden grip. Cast in one piece, its centre of gravity is towards the point and was intended to be used in a slashing manner.

The sword is currently on display at Enniskillen Castle.  People can book their tickets to visit at:  https://www.enniskillencastle.co.uk/whats-on