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Tuesday 30 May 2017

Deep secrets of Spanish Armada wreck revealed

An archaeologist recording the stern at the Rutland Island wreck off the Donegal coast.
An archaeologist recording the stern at the Rutland Island wreck off the Donegal coast.

CANNON balls, 400-year-old bullets and pieces of pottery have been discovered this week on a wreck off the Donegal coast that is believed to be have been part of the Spanish Armada.

Specialist archaeologists working on the Rutland Island wreck near Burtonport in Co Donegal believe they might discover further items.

At least 24 Spanish warships sank off the west coast in September 1588 when they were caught in violent storms. They were wrecked in locations between Antrim and Kerry as they attempted to make their way back home following defeat to a British fleet in the English Channel.

"It's certainly from the right period," underwater archaeologist Connie Kelleher said of the vessel she was working on yesterday.

The vessel is 20 metres long and much of the wooden hull is still intact, allowing divers to make their way inside the hold.

"I don't know what we'll find, that's the excitement of it," Ms Kelleher said yesterday from aboard the research vessel the RV Keary, which has been provided free of charge by the Geological Survey of Ireland. The Government is giving €50,000 to help with the work.

Irish Independent

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