The Tara Brooch is a Celtic brooch of about 700 AD generally considered to be the most impressive of over 50 elaborate Irish brooches to have been discovered. It was found in 1850 and rapidly recognized as one of the most important works of early Christian Irish Insular art; this spectacular piece of Irish heritage is displayed in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.
The seven-inch long pseudo-penannular brooch is composed primarily of silver gilt and is embellished with intricate abstract decoration including interlace on both front and back. The design, the techniques of workmanship (including filigree and inlaying) and the gold, silver, copper, amber and glass are all of high quality, and exemplify the advanced state of goldsmithing in Ireland in the seventh century. The brooch has a form. Like most pseudo-penannular brooches of the period, it contains neither Christian nor pagan religious motifs, and was made for a wealthy patron, almost certainly male, who wanted a personal expression of status. It is probably the most spectacular, and one of the best preserved, of several dozen high-status brooches found in Britain or Ireland, but mostly in Ireland. Although similar in style, each has a completely individual design in detail. Precious metals are used, but only semiprecious stones.
Although the brooch is named after the Hill of Tara, traditionally seen as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the Tara Brooch in fact has no connection to either the Hill of Tara or the High Kings of Ireland. The brooch was supposedly found in August 1850 on the beach at Bettystown, near Laytown, County Meath, some 50 km (30 mi) north of Dublin. The finder, a peasant woman (or her two sons), claimed to have found it in a box buried in the sand, though many think it was in fact found inland and she claimed it was found at the beach in order to avoid a legal claim by the landowner. It was sold to a dealer and then to the Dublin jeweller George Waterhouse who was already producing Celtic Revival jewellery and who