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Digging for Gold

The Derrynaflan Chalice was uncovered by Michael Webb and his son, also called Michael, while they were exploring the ancient monastic site in Derrynaflan with a metal detector. The hoard was described as the archaeological find of the century.

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Digging for Gold

On 17 February 1980, the Derrynaflan Chalice was found in Tipperary. The discovery was made by Michael Webb and his son, Michael Jr while they were exploring the old monastic site in Derrynaflan with a metal detector. The discovery of the chalice was part of a hoard consisting of a large eight-century paten, an eight-century liturgical strainer, and an eighth to ninth century bronze basin. It is thought that the hoard was buried in the ninth or tenth centuries by Viking raiders. Michael Webb initially kept the discovery a secret but told a friend who passed the information about the find to relevant authorities. 

The discovery brought up questions of compensation and the use of metal detectors on protected land. The Webbs unsuccessfully sought compensation for their find which led to a Supreme Court ruling that replaced the Irish laws of treasure trove by the law in the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 1994, with a new Section 2 being included in the legislation.  

The Derrnaflan Chalice is on display in the National Museum of Ireland. 

Produced and presented by Kevin O'Connor (First Broadcast on the 21st of November, 1981)

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