Ardagh chalice

The chalice is a large, two-handled silver cup, decorated with gold, gilt bronze, brass, lead pewter and enamel, which has been assembled from 354 separate pieces; this complex construction is typical of early Christian Irish metalwork. The main body of the chalice is formed from two hemispheres of sheet silver joined with a rivet hidden by a gilt-bronze band. The names of the apostles are incised in a frieze around the bowl, below a girdle bearing inset gold wirework panels of animals, birds, and geometric interlace. Techniques used include hammering, engraving, lost-wax castingfiligree appliquecloisonné and enamel. Even the underside of the chalice is decorated.

The chalice was featured on a £1 value definitive postage stamp issued by An Post between 1990 and 1995 as part of the series Irish Heritage and Treasures designed by Michael Craig.

Two Gaelic Athletic Association trophies are modelled on the Chalice: the O'Duffy Cup and the Sam Maguire Cup.


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