Viking weapons and boats, which have lain submerged for almost a thousand years, have been discovered in Lough Corrib.
Trevor Northage, a marine surveyor www.anglingcharts.com, who is mapping the lake to produce up-to-date navigation charts, made the discovery during the course of his work. The find was made at the section of the lough close to Carrowmoreknock, near Rosscahill, Connemara.
The discovery led to dive surveys by the Underwater Archaeology Unit from the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht’s National Monuments Service.
What have been found are 12 newly-discovered logboats, ranging in date from 2,500BC to the 11th century AD. One of these boats contained three Viking style battle-axes with intact wooden handles; an iron work axe; and two iron spearheads.
While the Vikings founded the cities of Dublin and Limerick, named the counties of Wicklow and Waterford, and their descendants live on in the names Doyle, Duffy, McDowell, and Reynolds, the Vikings seemed to have little or no presence in Connacht.
The Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan has described the discovery as “an outstanding find” and “a remarkable range of high quality artefacts”. He has also speculated that “one of the logboats may have been on a raid in the area when it sank”, hence its presence outside the main Viking settlements in Ireland.
The three Viking style battle-axes will be a centrepiece of the National Museum of Ireland’s Battle of Clontarf commemorative exhibition, which was launched by the Minister this week.