It was no small restriction: the Penal Laws meant Catholics could not hold public office, inherit land or worship in public.
It was in this atmosphere that brass and bronze communion chalices such as those pictured here were made secretly in the 17th and 18th centuries and used by priests to discreetly minister to their flock. When not in use the stem and the bowl could be detached and ‘hidden’ together as a beaker. Similar ‘recusant’ chalices were made in England.
The two examples shown above and below, sold at €750/£690 (estimate €200-300) and €1400/£1288 (€100-150), were both part of the Tim O’Mahony collection dispersed at Sheppard’s (19% buyer’s premium) in Durrow, Co Laois, on March 24.
The sale, held ‘live online’ because of coronavirus measures, featured the eclectic mix of objects and curios bought by a collector from Borris in Co Carlow over half a century.