Recent Acquisitions

Polished Green Stone Axe

This stone axe was found in Doolin townland, Killilagh parish in the barony of Corcomroe, in the corner of a field that had been disturbed through the removal of a field wall along with several other artifacts, all concentrated in an area approximately 5m x 5m.

The axe was analysed in 2007 by the Irish Stone Axe Project (ISAP) at University College Dublin. It reported that the axe is composed of a stone known as tuff and belongs to a group of axes classified as Irish Group VI which have their source in the Great Langdale and Scafell areas of Cumbria, England.
About 100 axes from this source have been found in Ireland, but this is the first for County Clare.

Other possible sources for this type of stone occur in south-east Ireland and around Lough Gur. However a Cumbrian source appears more likely as six tuff axes from the Lough Gur area have been found through microscopic analysis to have originated in Cumbria and the morphology of the Irish Group VI tuff axes is similar to that of axes from Cumbrian sources found in Britain.

During the Neolithic Lough Gur was a focal point of activity and the ISAP has suggested that one explanation for the concentration of tuff axes here is that these imported axes played an important social role in the local communities and were sought out on that basis. A similar explanation can be imagined for the axe found at Doolin. Neolithic activity in the Doolin area is attested to by the presence of a possible “stone axe factory” at the cobble beach there and early Neolithic activity is evidenced by the court tomb at Teergonean. Probably viewed as a high status object, this stone axe must have found its way to Doolin through axe trade and exchange networks.


Ref: Cooney, G., and Mandal, S. 1998. The Irish Stone Axe Project, Monograph 1, Wordwell Ltd, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

Designated Museums of Ireland
Delaney Collection
Neolithic Collection
Stone Axe Collection
Tools and Equipment Collection
“Axe Points to Ancient Links with Britain”, Irish Times, Wednesday, 21st May, 2008

Polished green stone axe 2003.9