According to a legend Bishop Cornelius O'Dea went to Dublin
to attend a synod of bishops without his pontificals. Feeling the awkwardness
of his position, he searched the city for a mitre and crozier, but failed
to find any. The story goes that a youth landed from a ship which had
arrived in port and presented the bishop with a box, saying what he sought
was in it; if it pleased him he could keep them. When the bishop turned
to thank the young man he was nowhere to be seen.
In almost every legend there is said to be a kernel of
truth. In this instance the story may have arisen from the fact that they
were made in Dublin.
The front and back of the mitre consists of silver gilt laminae, adorned
with flowers composed of an almost infinite number of precious stones.
The borders and ornamental panel, down the middle on both sides are of
the same material but much thicker, being worked into mouldings and vine
leaves enriched with a variety of pearls some of a large size. Near the
top of the front panel, in the form of a cross and covered with crystal
of the same shape, is the following inscription: "Hoc signum cruds
erit in coelo." In similar setting on the back is the continuation:
"Cum Dominus ad judicandum venerit." Round the lower edge a
record of the date and name of the original owner are enamelled in black
letters thus: "Me + fieri + fecit + Cornelius O’Deaygh Epus
. . . Anno Dom Milli." The remainder is broken off above the band,
the name of the artist is engraved Thomas O’Carryd, artifex faciens.
The infulae or pendants appear to have suffered much as they are devoid
of most of the ornaments that once adorned them.
Currently the mitre and crozier are on display in Limerick’s