|My father G.A. Hayes-McCoy and his parents, Galway, 1930s|
I remember him lifting me up to admire Iron Age ring-beads of translucent black glass with spiral yellow inlay, and twisted gold collars with gorgeous fluted ends. There were amber beads and inlaid boxes too, enamelled horse-bits, jet ornaments, and ceremonial trumpets. Unlike their later, medieval counterparts who laboured over complicated strap-work and heavy decoration, Iron Age craftsmen produced works that are almost modernist in their simple clarity.
|The Broighter Boat (photo courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland)|
It's a lesson I learned from a father whose own rigorous, uncompromising scholarship was informed by an imaginative awareness of the universality of human experience.