Table formed from Spanish Armada parts up for auction
Dromoland and Bunratty Castle have housed table, which has estimated €100,000 value
Nearly three metres long, it is made from a variety of timbers including oak and tropical hardwoods.
But it isn’t the first time that the Co Clare coastal townland has been associated with a story involving unwelcome visitors from abroad.
Exactly 430 years ago this week, a galleon from the Spanish Armada was one of a number of ill-fated ships to founder off the coast near Doonbeg. Locals from all over the hinterland descended on the shore in search of plunder.
The High Sheriff of the county, Boethius Clancy, rescued ship parts and decorative carvings from the stricken galleon and had them made into a grand refectory table. Long regarded as one of the most significant and well-documented pieces of 16th/17th-century Irish furniture in existence, the “Armada table” will be auctioned by Adam’s at its Country House Collections sale at Townley Hall, near Drogheda, Co Louth, next month. It carries an estimate of €100,000.
After being presented to the O’Brien clan the table came into the possession of the Lords Inchiquin. It spent 300 years at Dromoland Castle, Co Clare before being removed to Bunratty Castle, Co Limerick, where it has been seen and admired by thousands of visitors.
Nearly three metres long, it is made from a variety of timbers including oak and tropical hardwoods. The rectangular top sits on a frieze of a dozen carved heads, with four carved heraldic lion corner supports and two figures of Hope and Charity, which would originally have been found on the stern of a galleon.
“To be consigned what the Knight of Glin has described as ‘one of the most important and earliest pieces of Irish furniture’ is a great honour,” said the managing director of Adam’s, James O’Halloran.
“We hope that the location of the sale at Townley Hall will be a fitting environment for its first ever sale since it was made over 400 years ago.”