Monday, November 1, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - An Ancient Irish Rosary

This rosary has been in my family since before my ancestors swam over from Ireland. OK...they took a boat, but I'm sure it was a long, hard journey for them!  The rosary was William Quirk's, my 2nd great grandfather. Now William was born around 1842, so if the date refers to when it was carved or to commemorate an event, it most likely belonged to his father or mother.

William was Irish-born. What I don't know is if any of his family came over with him or if he made the journey alone...still looking into that one! Perhaps the rosary was a gift from a family member before he made the trip. A piece of the family to take with him on his long journey from home.

My sisters and I all have the utmost affection for this particular piece of family history. It's probably the oldest thing our family has. It was passed on to me by my mother several years ago and it spends the majority of it's time in our fire-safe.


  1. Wow Cherie! What a treasure! I would probably have it kept in a fire safe also, but it's such a shame since it's so beautiful.

  2. Thanks, Jenn. It feels so delicate to hold though. I'm afraid of breaking it!

  3. Absolutely beautiful, a magnificent Irish treasure. Cheers! Jennifer

  4. A gorgeous rosary and truly a treasure in many ways!

  5. A treasure indeed, and very wise to keep it in a fire safe. Perhaps you could have it re-strung by a jeweller (like pearls) so you know it won't break.

  6. Wow, Cheryl! I've seen these types of Irish Rosaries before but never dreamed that I might find one belonging to an ancestor. What a wonderful window into your family history!

    I'd be interested to learn more about the provenance of this beautiful Rosary - who William passed it down to, and on and on, before it landed in your care. I'm so happy to hear that you all treasure it.


  7. Hi, there;
    This cross is most likely a memento of a pilgrimage to St Patrick's Purgatory, Station Island, Lough Dearg Co. Donegal. The date is the year that the pilgrim did the station. It may have been affixed to the Rosary later, or it might have always been attached.

    1. Thank you, John for responding! I've been in contact with Lough Dearg and they confirmed that it was almost certainly one of theirs. They were even kind enough to mail me information on Lough Dearg. It is certainly a place that I will have to visit someday.