Battle of Boyne gun 'gift' from Ian Paisley to Bertie Ahern goes under hammer
A weapon presented by Ian Paisley to Bertie Ahern in a symbol of the peace process was actually on loan, it has been revealed.
The centuries-old musket was reputedly used at the Battle of the Boyne in Co Meath between William of Orange and Catholic King James II in 1690 and is to be put up for auction.
It was loaned by an anonymous owner to the former DUP first minister of Northern Ireland who lent it to the former taoiseach, a spokeswoman for the auctioneers said.
Mr Ahern received the weapon in a gesture of reconciliation at the site of the battle in 2007.
Now the original owner of the firearm has decided to sell.
Belfast auctioneer Daniel Clarke said: "The sale of the Boyne carbine is the most unusual one that I've ever had to conduct.
"We'll certainly have lots of interest in the room, and there's no knowing at this stage just how many will use the internet to bid for this highly desirable antique."
He said the carbine thought to have been used at the Battle of the Boyne and the Siege of Derry came to represent a new beginning in north-south relations.
The veteran auctioneer from Ross's Auctions is in charge of tomorrow morning's sale.
He said the 'peace gun', lot 400, has attracted significant interest, particularly from the Republic and America.