The Garryduff Bird
The spiral design chosen as our conference logo is taken from a tiny (1.5 cm) gold bird found during M.J. O'Kelly's 1946 excavation of a ringfort at Garryduff, Co. Cork. It is dated on stratigraphic and art-historical grounds to the late sixth or seventh century and its proportions, shape and upturned tail leave little doubt that it represents a wren. Spiral ornament is known as far back as the Neolithic period in Ireland, and re-appears in the Iron age; the club-shaped tips of the spirals on the Garryduff bird recall the La Tène style which had arrived nine hundred years before. But the Garryduff bird also speaks of the diverse contacts which Ireland enjoyed with other parts of Europe during the early medieval period; the filigree techniques employed are Anglo-Saxon, while its form is best paralleled in France and, closer still, in openwork birds from the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Garryduff Bird inspired Hugh Kavanagh who created the background image used throughout this website.