Mining in the 14th C - scenes from a medieval silver mine

Monetary Crisis (1369), as Richard II orders his colonists to search for silver and gold mines in Ireland

Following the death in 1376 of his father, Edward of Woodstock (the Black Prince), Richard became heir to his grandfather, King Edward III of England, whom he succeeded in 1377 at the age of ten. His reign of twenty-two years saw a number of domestic crises, from the Peasants’ Revolt (1381) to later conflicts with…

The new Central Bank of Ireland building on Dublin North Quays

Exciting news for Irish Numismatic historians as the Central Bank of Ireland opens its archives for public research

The Central Bank of Ireland has opened its archives to the public for the first time and we hope that many unanswered questions of Irish numismatic interest can, at last, be answered. These archives include a range of materials created and acquired by the bank – such as objects, documents and ledgers dating from 1786…

Two Bronze Age axe heads, Viking strap-end and twisted ring were illegally excavated

Irish Numismatics & Archaeology: A way forward from the impasse in the metal detecting debate?

Two and a half years ago I wrote an article designed to generate discussion on whether (or not) Irish metal-detectorists were saints or sinners. I had hoped to get more opinions from the professionals involved in Irish archaeology – from both sides of the border – but they have remained quiet. An uneasy three-way ‘stand-off’…

Gunmoney, Large Halfcrown, 1689 Sepr + full colon, with 'r' above - between e and p (DF 379; S.6579D)

James II & his Gunmoney: September 1689 (timeline)

Introduction By September 1689, James II’s so-called gunmoney continued to be produced in huge volumes at Capel Street in Dublin. A common misconception is that the coinage with 9r equates to September but it, in fact, refers to November – the 11th month of our modern (Gregorian) calendar but the 9th month of the old Julian…

Edward IV 1467 Irish double groat, sun & roses coinage, Dublin mint

Edward IV issues Irish coins of a lower standard (1467)

Introduction: Realising that having an Irish currency equal to English standard weights resulted in a massive drain of silver out of Ireland and, consequently, reducing the amount of coinage in circulation + causing a recession, Edward IV moved towards remedying this by announcing a new (lower intrinsic value) coinage for Ireland in 1467: double-groats (eight…

A medieval depiction of an army sailing to Waterford city (from Jean Creton, Histoire rimée de Richard II)

Richard II’s second expedition to Ireland

In late 1397, with the Irish lords of both Ulster and Leinster once more at war, Richard was already planning to return. His second expedition, in June and July 1399, again brought a significant army to Ireland, albeit less than half the size of the force he brought with him on his previous visit. Richard II…

Art Mór Mac Murchadha Caomhánach riding to meet the earl of Gloucester, as depicted in an illustration to Jean Creton's Histoire du roy d'Angleterre Richard II

Richard II’s first expedition to Ireland

Less warlike than either his father or grandfather, he sought to bring an end to the Hundred Years’ War that Edward III had started. There was war in Connacht between the O’Connors, in 1384, and fierce hostility continued for years after between the families of the O’Connor Don (Brown) and the O’Connor Roe (Red) In…