“Secrets of the Bog Unveiled” – Talk by Isabella Mulhall

Secrets of the Bog Unveiled 02

Isabella Mulhall with Con Manning and Elizabeth Connelly


On Sunday 10th March 2013 we had a very interesting talk from Isabella Mulhall of the National Museum. The title of the talk was “Secrets of the Bog Unveiled: The National Museum of Ireland Bog Bodies Research Project”. Isabella is assistant keeper in the Irish Antiquities Division and coordinator of the Bog Bodies Research Project at the National Museum of Ireland, and was a member of the Kingship and Sacrifice exhibition planning team.

The unearthing of waterlogged soft tissue remains from bogs – or “bog mummies” – is a rare occurrence. The double find of exceptionally preserved bodies within three months in 2003 was unprecedented. Both were of adult males dating to the early iron age (the iron age in Ireland dates to around 500BC–AD400). The remains, which have become known as Clonycavan Man and Oldcroghan Man, came to the National Museum of Ireland, shortly after their discovery in the midlands. The multi-disciplinary investigation that followed engaged personnel from the museum and specialists from six different countries, many of whom had vast experience in the field of bog body research. As the scope of the study widened, the core research team expanded accordingly, resulting in upwards of 40 international experts working on the project.

Isabella gave us a fascinating explanation of the process by which information was gleaned regarding age at death, stature, health and well-being, diet and the manner in which the men were subjected to ritualistic killings before their bodies were disposed of in bogs.

Material from “British Archaeology” magazine

Secrets of the Bog Unveiled 06

Thomasina Dempsey, Audrey McKenna, Mary McCarthy

Secrets of the Bog Unveiled 04 (2)

Peggy King, Jean Pearson

Secrets of the Bog Unveiled 03

Canadian visitor Sharon Brown with Isabella Mulhall

Photos by Déaglán de Paor