Bawnboy and Templeport
History Heritage Folklore
by Chris Maguire



The Bawnboy Pin is an early Iron Age, Type 1a, bronze, ring-headed pin, 15.5cm in length.

While ring-headed pins are a standard artefact of the Early Iron Age, the workmanship and design of the Bawnboy example are quite different from that of other surviving pins. The casting of the embossed discs on the ring is particularly distinctive.

The Pin dates from the period between the 3rd century BC and the 3rd century AD.

The following extract from the notebook of Thomas Clarke records its discovery:

"Found in a bog 4 ft deep in the Turf Bank, near the village of Bawnboy, Co. Cavan, on the estate of John Finlay, Esquire, in the summer of 1834. The fracture was made at the time of finding, in the act of cutting turf."

The Bawnboy Pin

TheBawnboy Pin

The Pin came into the possession of Canon J. Grainger of Broughshane, Co. Antrim, a well-known antiquarian and collector. It passed, with the rest of his collection, to the old Belfast Museum in 1900, and is now in the Ulster Museum, Belfast.

Recent enquiries with local historians Chris Maguire, Bawnboy and Oliver Brady, Cloneary would suggest that the most likely location fitting the above description is Cor Bog.

Adjacent to the Finlay home at Corville House, and the only tract of lowland bog owned by the Finlays near Bawnboy, Cor Bog lies in the important Iron Age ritual area of Templeport.

Discussion with archaeologist Chris Corlett, Heritage Service has indicated the pin may have been deposited as a votive offering rather than an accidental loss.

Such ritual deposits were a common practice in the religion of the early Celts; and the nearby Killycluggin Stone does indicate the presence of a major Iron Age cult centre in this area.

(Information and photograph supplied by archaeologist Richard Warner, Ulster Museum)

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