Ancient Gold Hoards of the Celtic El Dorado

The legendary lost city of gold, El Dorado, has drawn over 500 formal treasure recovery teams to South America over the last 500 years and over 3,000 people have been lost searching for ancient golden goblets and sun disks, and while the jungles of that continent are laden with gold so too are the fields, rivers and ancient landscapes of the northern Celts of modern day Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Waterford County (right) on the south-west coast of Ireland (Public Domain)

Waterford County (right) on the south-west coast of Ireland (Public Domain)

Ireland’s Gold Coast

Mountains and rivers holding gold deposits were well known to ancient inhabitants of Ireland around 2500-500 BC and more Bronze Age gold hoards have been found in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe. The county of Waterford, from Dungarvan to Stradbally is known locally as the ‘Gold Coast’ for its high gold values in streams but unfortunately, this knowledge of gold has been lost through thousands of years of immigration and very little gold mining happens in the country today. A rule of thumb, however, is that Irish place names containing the word ‘ór’ probably seemed stemmed from gold ‘ore’.

Gold lunula from Blessington, Co Wicklow (Early Bronze Age, circa 2400 BC – 2000 BC) (CC BY-SA 3.0)


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