Michael O’Ruiarc of Shannonside Sub Aqua Club, a native of Banagher, Co. Offaly where the 1050 BC sword was found, stumbled upon the precious artifact during a routine search and recovery exercise.
Dr. Andy Halpin, assistant keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum, confirmed the sword’s age.
“We know that there is a lot of historical evidence of Viking activity on the Shannon in the 9th and 10th centuries, however from the 10th century onwards, there is also evidence that Irish kings especially Brian Boru had ships on the Shannon,” Halpin told the Irish Independent.
Divers of the Shannonside Aqua Club have recovered Celt and Viking swords from the Shannon in the past, but it was O’Ruiarc’s first time recovering such a striking artifact that is such an important part of Irish history.
“Two of my diving buddies who are also members of Shannonside Sub Aqua Club have recovered period swords from the river Shannon over the last number of years, so I’m delighted to have eventually found one myself,” he said.
The National Museum of Ireland is currently exhibiting a 1,000 year old Viking sword which was found in the Shannon in 2012 as part of an exhibition commemorating the Battle of Clontarf, which is running through December at its Museum of Archaeology in Dublin.
“We struck lucky again!” the diving club posted to Facebook. “The National Museum should really consider giving our divers a full time position in their underwater unit.”