Diameter: 7.300 cm
Length: 13.000 cm (pin)
Room 41: Europe AD 300-1100
Irish, late 6th - early 7th century
From County Cavan, Ireland
Typical clothes fastener of early medieval Ireland
Both men and women of rank in Ireland wore brooches of this form: first the pin was stabbed through the folds of a cloak and then one end of the ring was pushed under the sharp end of the pin where it came out of the cloth. The ring was then turned until the pin tip lay securely locked in place beyond the raised bump of the decorated terminal.
This fine brooch
The term 'penannular' is used for brooches like this which have a gap in their hoop. On eighth-century Irish brooches, like the Londesborough brooch, the terminals are enlarged and the space between is filled with added decoration but they still show that they have developed from this open-ring type.
H.E. Kilbride-Jones, Zoomorphic penannular brooches (Society of Antiquaries of London, 1980)
I.M. Stead and S. Youngs, Celts, British Museum Pocket Treasury (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)
R.A. Smith, 'Irish brooches of five centuries', Archaeologia-4, 65 (1914)