Birr woman features in new National Treasures book


Mary Boissel from Birr is one of the featured contributors in the brand new National Treasures Book, which is the latest installment of the National Treasures project that captured the nations imagination when it aired on RTE1 earlier this year.

Mary, who brought along her Gaudeamus Igitur Skull Tankard to a Roadshow in Belfast, is one of a select few individuals to be featured in the publication which is sure to be a top seller around the country this Christmas. The porcelain skull tankard was used in traditional graduation ceremonies along with a drinking song to encourage drinkers to be joyful while they are still young.

"This celebratory skull tankard is from Germany. It is made of porcelain and has a Latin inscription on it that reads 'Gaudeamus Igitur,' which means "Let us be joyful." The tankard is used in traditional graduation ceremonies along with a drinking song encouraging drinkers from this tankard to be joyful while they are still young. The image of the skull is to remind drinkers of what we are all to become very shortly. It is a family heirloom and has been used by generations of people who have enjoyed life."

The National Treasures project was a campaign to collect objects cherished by people and families that explore the history of the island of Ireland over the past 100 years. The aim was to gather objects, passed down through generations or relatively recently acquired, which revealed an aspect of Ireland’s history, culture and experience. Since then, the project has transformed from a website to nationwide roadshow events, a TV series, an exhibition and now a book containing some of the amazing objects and stories uncovered.

Authors and producers of the National Treasures project, Ciarán Deeney and David Clarke say: “It’s been a real treat to spend the past year meeting the people of Ireland and discovering so many amazing objects and the stories behind them. We’re forever grateful to all the people that participated and we feel that this book illustrates perfectly how the National Treasures project was a powerful insight into the fabric of a nation”

With a foreword by RTÉ’s John Creedon, this fascinating book reveals a selection of 200 diverse and fascinating objects that were unearthed by the project and presents them alongside the owners and the personal stories attached. From a pair of Sonia O’Sullivan’s Olympic running shoes to a War of Independence grenade, the stories contained within are profound, entertaining, heart-warming and tragic.

The National Treasures project was produced by EZ Films for RTÉ in association with the National Museum of Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The book is available in all good book shops and online at

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