While the Manx government are fairly laid back – dismissive almost of seeking the return of ‘The Chronicles of the Kings of Man and the Isles’ political figures in other Celtic countries are not so inactive

Early this year the Irish Labour TD Sean Sherlock called on the Irish government to seek an agreement with the UK to return Irish artefacts specifically the Mount Keefe Chalice which is held by the Victoria and Albert Museum (London)

Sherlock said the Mount Keefe Chalice is of “significant importance to Irish culture and Irish history.”

Sherlock said he has written to Tanaiste Micheál Martin, explaining that he believes “a process should be devised on a bilateral basis between the Irish government and the UK government to repatriate those items that are of Irish origin and are important Irish folklore and from a cultural point of view.”

Sherlock also highlighted the ‘Annals of Innisfallen’, a manuscript which provides a chronological history similar to ‘The Chronicles of Man’ and which is in the possession of Bodleian Library (Oxford).

Meanwhile in Wales politicians, academics and a former senior figure in the National Library of Wales have called for the Gold Cape of Mold to be returned to wales, This specific case has been supported by the Celtic League.

Often the institutions in the English area of Britain retain artefacts they have little inclination or time to display or promote and even British academics have criticised the tendency to hoard artefacts rather than return them to the country of origin.

Earlier this year the Canadian author Malcolm Gladwell described it as the “dragon psychology” of modern museums: i.e. an instinct to hoard for hoarding’s sake.

Image: The Mount Keefe Chalice

Bernard Moffatt

AGS Celtic League (28th September 2023)