Underwater archaeologist Karl Brady did an initial investigation and said the boat was unique from others found in the Republic because the oval shaped blisters on the upper edge are “very rare.”
The Irish Times reported that Brady said about the boat’s unique feature, “I have seen them on some boats found in Northern Ireland and Britain but not in Ireland. They could have been used for holding oars.” Brady works for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Members of the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery Service (BFRRS) found the boat while carrying out one of their routine operations to remove shopping carts from the Boyne.
Christy Finglas who was working with Michael Hodgins said, “We had our boat just pulled in here and I saw it and said look at that.” Hodgins had found a similar boat with his father about 45 years ago near Premier Periclase.
Much sediment and silt has been removed from the river bank and bed by recent heavy rainfall and new water waste treatment and these reasons may explain why the boat has become visible now after hundreds of years.
The boat has been left where it was found for the moment. It is not accessible to the public. It will be dated later this year, but scholars are already excited about what information the boat may hold.
Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan said, “This is a significant discovery and is one of only a handful of log boats ever to be found in the River Boyne.”
He added, “It is impossible to date the boat at this stage but such craft were in use from prehistoric times right up to the 18th century.” Log boats were used in prehistoric times to transport people and goods as well as invade tribes.
Kelly commented about the boat’s possible age, “The Boyne is such an important river and crafts have been operating on it since the Stone Age. These vessels can get swept downstream towards the estuary so there might be a concentration in the Drogheda area. This particular vessel could be anything from 500 to 5,000 years old.”
Further research on the boat will provide more information about sailing on the Boyne. Antiquities keeper at the National Museum Dr Ned Kelly said, “This is a very exciting find. I would not be surprised if more craft like this were found in the Boyne.”
* Originally published in 2013.