Thursday 26 May 2011

Claymore c.1550

For a time there was a claidheamh mór very similar to the one pictured below which was preserved and kept here in Dublin at Clontarf Castle. Likely it's original owner was a Redshank mercenary on seasonal service from the Isles - or perhaps he was one of those who was massacred on Rathlin in 1575 by Crown Forces and the sword a trophy of that grisly affair - maybe both, maybe none of the above... Thankfully, that stalwart of Irish military history - Gerald Hayes-McCoy - made a record of the sword some time prior to the late 1970s shortly before it passed into an unknown private collection presumed to be outside the state. Traditionally the preserve of the Scots of the Western Isles, this 'twahondit' sword was the only known example of its kind with a provenance in Ireland. The old sword bore several marks on the blade of which, most prominent of these, was the motif of the running wolf. This latter was originally associated with the bladesmiths of the southern German town of Passau and was subsequently 'adopted' in later centuries by the famed bladesmiths of Solingen at which time surely that blade was made prior to export to the Western Isles...
Claymore c.1550-1600

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