A 17 Century musket, presented to former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern by the late Ian Paisley, has been sold at auction for £20,000.
The firearm, which came to symbolise the Irish Peace Process went under the hammer at Ross’s Auctions in Belfast on Thursday last.
While the auction house was unable to name the owner, or to whom it was sold, they did reveal that the historic firearm is to remain in Ireland.
The perfectly preserved Boyne musket was presented by Northern Ireland First Minister Dr Ian Paisley to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at the site of the Battle of the Boyne in 2007. The historic handover reached a global audience of millions.
A once lethal carbine, it is thought to have been used at the Battle of the Boyne and the Siege of Derry, and in latter years came to represent a new beginning in north-south relations.
Auctioneer Daniel Clarke was in charge of the sale.
He said the ‘peace gun’, marked as ‘Lot 400’, attracted significant interest from prospective buyers, particularly from the Republic of Ireland and the United States.
“The sale of the Boyne carbine is the most unusual one that I’ve ever had to conduct. We certainly had lots of interest in the room and on the Internet for this highly desirable antique,” he said.
“Like the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, I must confess to being slightly nervous about it which is odd given that I’ve been doing this job for more than 30 years.
“To cap it all off we’ll have the popular BBC programme, ‘Bargain Hunt’ with Tim Wonnacott, recording an episode on the day, so it’ll be a hectic day for all of us at Ross’s Auctions.”
The gun may even feature in the forthcoming programme.