A valuable hoard of gold coins dating back to almost 400 years have been discovered hidden in soil beneath the floorboards of a pub in Tipperary.

The National Museum of Ireland reports that the hoard was unearthed on 14th January 2013 during groundworks being undertaken at Main Street, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.

Builders carrying out the work on the old pub unearthed the eighty-one coins, which date from the reigns of Charles II, James II, William and Mary and William III.

The National Museum of Ireland have described it “as one of the most significant finds of the 17th century gold coins ever found in Ireland.”

The Irish Times reports that the coins, which are being examined by experts from Museum and the National Monuments Service today, appear to be guineas and half guineas, minted in Britain by the Royal Mint from gold imported from West Africa.

Archaeologists from the Museum, who examined the site following the discovery last Friday, believe the coins may have been wrapped and held together by some material which has not survived.

According to the Irish Independent, Marie McMahon, curator at South Tipperary Museum in Clonmel, held the coins in storage before they were handed over to the National Museum of Ireland.

"We were told that they were gold and you never really believe it, normally you would find silver, but they were in fantastic condition," she said.

"There are one or two coins buckled and one tarnished, but overall fantastic condition. They'd be incredibly valuable but legally we would not be allowed to discuss that."

The National Museum of Ireland has said: “No comparable 17th century hoard of gold coins has been found in Ireland since the discovery in Portarlington, Co. Laois, around 1947, of a hoard that contained little over 100 gold coins as well as some silver coins.”

Further research is being conducted into the coins and their historical background.

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