The Lissan Rapier

16 Sep

I must admit, I had no idea what the National Museum of Ireland would contain. I first thought I would only see Celtic crosses and old Irish relics; I was surprised to find an incredibly large collection of artifacts from Ancient Rome to Medieval Europe and beyond. The National Museum is a large 2 story building, literally filled to the brim with Irish history.

Amidst all these antiquities was an old rapier, housed in the most beautiful corner of the entire ground floor. Its proper name is “The Lissan Rapier” which just so happens to be “the largest rapier ever found in either Ireland or Britain” (Burgess, C.B. and Gerloff, S.) It is also one of the most difficult pieces to have been created in the Bronze Age due to its extremely long blade. To be clear, a rapier is a very thin sword, which is created usually by elongating a dagger. Rapiers were generally used for thrusting attacks, and carried by those interested in dueling, or protecting themselves from every day attackers.

However, “The Lissan Rapier” is thought to have never been used in battle, but rather as a ceremonial or decorative piece. It has been suggested that the rapier was also used to simulate mock combat situations. As with most Irish pieces, the rapier was found in a bog by an unsuspecting man. Discovered in 1867 it has served as an excellent addition to the National Museum of Ireland, and an even greater occupant of the corner.

Overall, the trip to museum was a very interesting experience, it certainly showed me a deeper history of Ireland than I had ever imagined. I hope to make another visit sometime this semester and discover even more hidden slivers of the Irish past.

-Sachin Mehta

The Lissan Rapier in all its glory

The Lissan Rapier in all its glory

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