Cannons from the Spanish ship La Juliana, which sank of the Irish coast in 1588, have been salvaged.Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

After over 425 years, treasures including cannons from the Spanish ship La Juliana, which sank off of the Sligo coast in September 1588, were discovered last July

Harsh winter storms over the past few years are believed to be the reason why the cannons only just became visible in late June last year. Wood planks from La Juliana began washing up on the shore in April 2015.

Sheila Langan

Sheila Langan

La Juliana, built in 1570, was a merchant vessel until King Philip II of Spain absorbed it into his Armada fleet for the invasion of England in hopes of stealing the throne from Queen Elizabeth I.

The ship, along with two others – La Lavia and Santa Maria de Vision – sank off the coast of what is now Streedagh Beach. The ships were wrecked and over 1,000 sailors lost their lives.

Streedagh Beach, Co. Sligo.

Streedagh Beach, Co. Sligo.

The cannons were a significant find. 

"We have uncovered a wealth of fascinating and highly significant material, which is more than 425 years old," said Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, after a special trip to view the findings.

"This material is obviously very historically and archaeologically significant,” she added.

Local divers and activists are carrying out a dive, while the wreckage is under constant surveillance against theft or tampering.


* Originally published in August 2015.