The Ancient Irish Mether

From The Dublin Penny Journal, Volume 1, Number 38, March 16, 1833

Most of our readers have heard of the ancient Irish drinking cup called the Mether, now entirely disused, or only to be found in the remotest mountain wilds of our country. It is associated in our minds with the simplicity and hospitality of by-gone times; and those who have drank out of it in their youth--if there be any such centagenarians--as well as those who are yet unacquainted with its form, will, we have no doubt, be alike gratified at seeing it preserved in our little depository of national remains.

The original from which our illustration is taken, was found in a bog in the county of Armagh. It is of the usual form and proportions, round at bottom, but quadrangular at top, and with a handle on each of its four sides. The material is crab tree. Its height is 7 1/2 inches, and its circumference 10 1/2 inches; it holds about three pints. This specimen is, as we have already remarked, the usual size and form of the mether; but it is sometimes found of considerably greater size, and sometimes with only two handles. The use of the four handles appears evidently to have been for the greater convenience of passing the cup round from one to another.

The use of the mether appears to have been universal in Ireland, for it is found in the bogs in all parts of the island; and judging from the great depth at which it is often discovered, its antiquity must be extreme indeed.