Ancient Irish Instrument found at Ballymoney, County Antrim

From The Dublin Penny Journal, Volume 1, Number 41, April 6, 1833

The very extraordinary piece of antiquity represented in the annexed wood-cut was found in a bog at Ballymoney, county of Antrim, and exhibited to the Royal Irish Academy by the Lord Bishop of Down, in March, 1829. Its material is that description of bronze of which all the ancient Irish weapons, &c. are composed, and its actual size is four times that of the representation. It is a tube, divided by joints at A and B into three parts, which, on separating were found to contain brass wire, in a zigzag form, a piece of which is represented in fig. G. This wire appears to have been originally elastic, but when found was in a state of considerable decomposition. At E and F are two holes, about one-eighth of an inch in diameter, and seem intended for rivets or pins to hold the instrument together. The birds move on loose pins, which pass through the tube, and on the other end are rings.

The material and style of workmanship of this singular instrument leave no doubt of its high antiquity. The Irish croziers of the sixth century are often ornamented with birds in this manner. But we confess ourselves totally unable to form even a rational conjecture as to its probable use, and should feel obliged to any antiquary who would throw light upon it.