AN ancient log-boat – which could be thousands of years old – has been discovered in the banks of the river Boyne.
An initial examination by underwater archaeologist Karl Brady suggests it could be very rare because, unlike other log-boats found here, it has oval shapes on the upper edge which could have held oars.
The boat was found by Christy Finglas, a member of the Boyne Fishermen's Rescue and Recovery Service (BFRRS), near Drogheda, Co Louth, as they were doing one of their regular operations to remove shopping trolleys from the Boyne.
Christy was working with Michael Hodgins as they checked the river for the trolleys, which are regularly thrown into the Boyne where it flows through Drogheda town centre.
Christy remembers being with his father on the river but closer to its mouth, when they came upon a similar boat 45 years ago near Premier Periclase, about three miles from where the log boat was found.
Dr Ned Kelly, the keeper of antiquities at the National Museum, said: "This is a very exciting find. I would not be surprised if more craft like this were found in the Boyne."
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said it was a significant discovery as it is one of only a handful of log-boats ever to be found in the river Boyne.
Mr Brady, who is an underwater archaeologist with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, believes it is made from oak and is extremely well-preserved.
"It has curving side walls and the top edge is exposed, so there could be between 80cm and one metre buried."
The exposed part appears to be worn and the remaining section could be better preserved where it is underneath the river bank.
Such boats were in use from prehistoric times to transport people, goods and invading tribes right up to the 18th Century.
Dr Kelly said: "This particular vessel could be anything from 500 to 5,000 years old."