Two unsuspecting thieves dumped a 4,000-year-old gold necklace in a skip without realising it was priceless.
The necklace, known as a lunula, was stolen in a break-in at a pharmacy in Strokestown, Co Roscommon, on March 27 last year and was later recovered by gardai.
A national treasure, it is now on display at the National Museum.
At Roscommon Circuit Court, Robert Dempsey (29), of Reuben Street, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to burglary at Sheehan's Pharmacy in Strokestown. Anthony Dowling (35), of Blanchardstown Drive, Dublin 15, admitted a charge of possession of stolen goods.
Detective Sergeant John Costello said neither of the men had any idea of the value of the items they had stolen. The gold lunula and two gold discs had been placed in an envelope in a safe by Ms Sheehan's father 50 years earlier. They dated from 2000 BC.
At the sentencing hearing yesterday, Judge Anthony Kennedy said both men had attempted to remedy what they had done by showing gardai where the safe and other items had been dumped. He imposed a three-year suspended sentence on Dempsey and gave Dowling a two-year suspended sentence.