Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Phoenix at the National Museum of Ireland


The National Museum of Ireland has many wondrous, beautiful, and rare objects on display. Just think of the spectacular Bronze Age gold display, the Ardagh Chalice and the other amazing artefacts in the Treasury, the prehistoric pottery, along with the Viking and medieval material upstairs. Most people are unaware that the museum also boasts a mythological rarity … their very own phoenix. This mosaic gem is near the very Dandy Lion on the ground floor, near the centre of the Bronze Age gold exhibit. I’ve long thought him a particularly arrogant bird, rising up with flame-feathered wings outstretched and an imperious look in his eye. On more recent consideration, I’m not sure if he’s not just using a cloak of superiority to mask his discomfort at having an especially barbed and sharp tongue … it must be the source of much distress and suffering. Go visit the museum & spare a thought for the phoenix.