The Lord Mayor explains the history behind some valuable items associated with the city of Dublin.

An exhibition of Dublin City Treasures runs until September at the Armoury Building at Foster's Place in Dublin. Some of the items from the display were brought to RTÉ studios under high security to be shown the 'Kenny Live' show.

They're fascinating. They’re also priceless.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Michael Donnelly describes some of the exhibits beginning with the Lord Mayor’s chain. The Lord Mayor normally wears a replica of the chain. The real chain was presented to the city of Dublin in 1698 by King Billy, eight years following the Battle of the Boyne. In an effort to preserve the original chain, a replica is used for everyday wear by the Lord Mayor.

Another item that forms part of the exhibition is a hanaper, this oak casket requires six keys to be opened. The keys were held by six different people.The hanaper contained the city seal dating from the 13th century. After a scandal in which a former mayor’s wife stole the seal, it was agreed that the seal should be locked in the box and that there should be six people present when it was opened for the seal to be used.

A very important document is the original City Charter dating back to Henry II between 1171 and 1172. The charter is proof that the Corporation is one of the oldest institutions in the country.

The Great Sword of Dublin, made in the 1390s, was given to the city by King Henry IV. The sword is carried before the Lord Mayor on special occasions like the Freedom of the City or the Lord Mayor’s Honours. As Pat Kenny holds up the sword, the Lord Mayor describes it as

The ultimate political clout.

The City of Dublin Roll of Honorary Freemen includes recent additions such as Nelson Mandela, Stephen Roche, The Japanese Emperor, and Maureen Potter, to name but a few. The very first Freeman of Dublin was Isaac Butt in 1876, leader of the Home Rule League.

The Freedom of the City is the ultimate honour. It’s the highest honour the city can bestow.

The Lord Mayor announces that the next recipient of the Freedom of the City will be Dr Patrick Hillery.

The catalogue for the exhibition provides full details on all the items on show..

This episode of 'Kenny Live' was broadcast on 13 April 1991. The presenter is Pat Kenny.