On The Corrib

Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland and is reputed to have 365 Islands.   It is a vast lake of 44,000 acres and stretches some thirty-five miles in length from Maam in Connemara to Galway city where the river drains via the Corrib River through Galway City into Galway Bay. Lough Corrib is one of the best game fisheries in the world and it is a wonderful place to experience game angling.  There is an abundance of wildlife in Lough Corrib including birds and hawks, otters, mink, stoat, frogs, bats and much more.

A 4,500-year-old log boat is among twelve early Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval craft 
that have been located in Lough Corrib, along with several Viking-style battle axes 
and other weapons.

The vessels were discovered by Captain Trevor Northage while mapping the western lake to update British admiralty charts.

Investigative dives were subsequently carried out last summer by the underwater archaeology unit (UAU) 
of the National Monuments Service, and radiocarbon dating of samples was then conducted.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, who was informed of the finds recently, has described them as “exceptional”.

The three Viking-style battle axes recovered from 
one of the vessels will be a centrepiece in the National Museum’s Battle of Clontarf commemorative exhibition, which is due to open later this month.

ANNAGHKEEN LOG BOAT
The oldest of the vessels located, the 4,500-year-old Annaghkeen log boat, had already been lying on the bed of Lough Corrib for 3,500 years when the Vikings arrived, Capt Northage has pointed out.
“The Annaghkeen boat was made from a very big tree, and it took a lot of skill and effort to make it,” said UAU archaeologist Karl Brady.

“The fact that all three boats were located within 30 miles of each other would suggest that they were made by the one builder, or that there was a vogue for early Bronze Age boats of this type,” he said.

Another vessel dating from the 11th or 12 century and found near Carrowmoreknock on the Corrib may have been on a raid when it sank, he added.It is likely the warriors on board were Irish and had adapted 
for their use the Viking weapons found on board.

Capt Northage noted the Annaghkeen vessel was the same age as that estimated for the Oak Path recently revealed by storms along the north Galway shoreline.

“These people were living in a very different landscape and working at the forefront of technology back then,” 
he said.

All of the weapons have been recovered for conservation by the National Museum, including bronze spearheads and a very rare wooden spear.

There are no immediate plans to raise the vessels, due to the high cost involved. “The lake water obviously has very good preservation qualities,” Mr Brady said.

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