independent

Thursday 30 October 2014

Viking long boat displayed locally

SEARCH ON FOR 'SUITABLE' PUBLIC SPACE

HUBERT MURPHY

Published 22/02/2012 | 10:55

The vessel was found in the Boyne in 2006 during works by the Drogheda Port Company.

THE CENTURIES-OLD 'Drogheda Boat' could go on display in the town, if a 'suitable public space, ideally a museum' can be arranged.

The boat, unearthed in the Boyne in November 2006 during work by the Drogheda Port Company, has been described by Patrick Wallace, Director of the National Museum, as a vessel of ' major importance', especially given the fact that some of its cargo of barrels were also recovered. They are being tested to try and find out where they came from.

On its discovery, the boat generated a huge amount of interest with then Minister for the Environment John Gormley describing it as 'a discovery of national and international significance'.

It was the first boat of its kind to be found intact in Irish waters.

It has been claimed that archaeologists discovered the 14 barrels on the boat were originally used to transport wine made in the Fontefvraud Monastery in France.

Both the vessel and the barrels are being treated at the National Museum's Resource Centre in North Dublin and, although likely to be expensive to conserve, it's a vital procedure if the timbers are to go on display.

Mr. Wallace said he has no problem with Drogheda hosting the boat, if the right centre can be found.

' There would also have to be an investment in the conservation programme and in display of graphics panels and other means of explanation,' he stated. ' The unique nature of the vessel and its contents as well as the quality of its preservation make its public display most desirable, particularly if that place were in Drogheda itself, which is probably its home port.'

The boat is a clinker built vessel, a shipbuilding style which dates back to the Viking era but was used for centuries afterwards. Built in Ireland, it was single masted and would have measured about 12 metres in length.

Minister of State Fergus O'dowd has been making representations to have the boat go on display and is encouraged by Mr. Wallace's comments.

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