U TV: A 6"x10" bronze shrine, originally constructed to hold a bell, has been
discovered at an excavation of Celtic site bear Ballycastle in Northern
Brian Williams, joint excavation director of the Environment and Heritage
Service, found a small, bronze bell shrine while working on a site in County
Antrim. Williams said: "I was digging in a pit and the soil just fell away from
it, and I could see the side of it and realised immediately it was going to be a
very important piece. Then I removed it, and I just felt it was the find of my
The shrine , which is dedicated to a local saint, is thought to have been
hidden in a fortified site to keep it safe for a nearby church. The piece originally housed a bell and
was backed by a cross, both now, sadly, missing. The front of the shrine features the crucified
Christ, and the side panels display shamrocks.
The shrine, which dates from 1180 and was produced locally, will be taken to
the Ulster Museum for further study.
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