Ireland is well known for its literature and music but possibly less for its art even though it has a long and rich artistic heritage.
The oldest surviving Irish Art dates back to the Neolithic Era 3200 BC, predating the Pyramids and Stonehenge!
In the many centuries following, art in Ireland has had numerous influences from around the world, including the Celts, Romans, Christians, Saxons and the Vikings, reflecting the colourful history of the Isle.
The Celts were a warrior race who conquered most of Western and Central Europe from around 1000 BC to 1 AD. Much of their wealth was acquired through their conquests but they were also very skilled at metal works which they used to trade with distant lands.
The Celtic style is perhaps the art we most associate with Ireland, where the Celts enjoyed a long, uninterrupted history spanning from the Iron Age up until the Roman Period in the first century AD.
During this time the Celts produced some beautiful ornamental art combining swirls and spirals intertwined with images of plant life and nature. These were primarily used as decoration on jewellery, belt hooks, wine jugs, sculpture and weaponry.
Read more on Roman and Christian influence on Irish art