The Domhnach Airgid Shrine

15 Sep


When I entered the Irish National Museum, I was drawn towards the “Medieval Ireland” section of the museum. Within this section, I was attracted to their prayer life and their emphasis on faith during the Late Middle Ages. During this era, the Church controlled every aspect of people’s lives, and these people placed their strong faith in devotional images. The Domhnach Airgid Shrine belongs to the 8th century, and was given to St. Macartian by St. Patrick, one of the most significant religious figures in Irish history. This shrine is said to have contained part of an ancient manuscript of the Gospels.

The shrine is a large silver box, with carvings depicting Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. The artifact has clearly aged, with it’s silver color diminishing. The carvings of the people on each side of Jesus seem to be His Apostles. Their faces, clothing, and actions are skillfully carved by successive craftsmen, which shows the amount of devotion these individuals had for their faith.

The Domhnach Airgid Shrine is a great representation of this period in Irish history, along with the other shrines that I came across. This item shows the significance of religion during this time period in Ireland. Along with this shrine, I came across two other shrines. These shrines were Shrine of the Miosach and Shrine of the Stowe Missal. The Shrine of the Miosach dates back to the 11th century, with a carved illustration of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, as well as three saints. The Shrine of the Stowe Missal contained an 8th-century Mass book and was regarded as a relic of St. Maelruain.

Overall, these shrines emphasize the importance of faith and prayer in the Late Middle Ages. I chose this artifact because it was passed along by an extremely important Catholic figure (St. Patrick). His strong Catholic influence spread across the country, and formed a strong Catholic community.


Shane Fogarty


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