No one knew of the Gold Under The Floorboards when the pub fire occurred in 2010 burning out the old building. Even three years later when it was it decided to renovate old Cooney’s pub, no one had a clue.
It had been a rainy morning in the little Irish town on banks of the Suir river in South Tipperary. In fact the towns name “Carrick-on-Suir” means “Rock on Suir.” By Noon the sun was out and it was a brisk 44 degrees Fahrenheit that January 14th and if Shane Murray had not been asked to make a last minute change to a hole for a concrete pad that would support the steel structure for the renovated building the cache of gold coins might never have been found.
Mr. Murray discovered them in a recess in the front bar area, although when the coins were originally hid away it was probably a door opening or a fireplace. As he moved the clay underneath the floorboards for the construction hole his eye caught the golden glitter in the Noonday sun. The coins were found stacked up in a cylindrical row like they had been held in place by some material that had long since weathered away.
To Shane Murray’s credit he brought them to the attention of the building contractor Shane Comerford, who in his own words said “When Shane Murray showed them to me I just threw them on the ground and told him to keep digging and get the concrete laid. I thought they were ten a penny things.” Ah, a construction man to the last.
When he passed by a few minuets later some of the construction lads were examining the coins more closely and found them to date back to the 1600s. Mr. Comerford admits “To be honest, I was kind of sceptical when we first saw them but Shane knew instantly they were gold and he turned out to be right.”
In all a total of 81 gold coins were unearthed that day consisting of guineas and half-guineas. The name “guinea” refers to the West African point of origin of the gold used to make the coins, which was supplied by a Africa Company along the Guinea Coast. They guinea was struck by the Royal Mint between 1663 and 1814.
David Kiersey, who owns Cooney’s Pub popularly known in the town as Cleggs, and building contractor Shane Comerford consulted their lawyers about the coins. They were informed they were the property of the State and they had 96 hours to declare them. A National Treasure thing.
A spokesperson for the National Museum said no similar 17th century treasure trove of gold coins has been found in Ireland since the finding in Portarlington, of Laois county, around 1947, a collection that held over 100 gold coins along with some silver coins.
Later that day the rain picked up again but that couldn’t dampen the construction company’s spirits for they had found gold under the floorboards.