A BRONZE Age sword believed to be 3,500 years old has been recovered by a diver from the River Shannon.
The priceless artefact was picked up by Micheal O Ruairc, of Shannonside Sub Aqua Club in Banagher, Co Offaly. It is believed to date back to 1050 BC.
Photographs of the sword have been examined by Dr Andy Halpin, assistant keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum.
"The sword found in the river Shannon near Banagher is a Bronze Age sword that dates back anywhere from between 1050 to 1500 BC," said Dr Halpin."It's most likely to be 3,500-years old."
The Shannonside Sub Aqua Club previously discovered Viking and Celt Swords from the Shannon.
"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," Dr Halpin added.
Mr O Ruairc, a Banagher native, stumbled on the arte fact on Wednesday night during a routine search and recovery exercise.
The experienced diver said he was delighted to have discovered such an important piece 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 found in 2012 as part of an exhibition to commemorate the Battle of Clontarf.
The exhibition runs until the end of December at its Museum of Archaeology on Kildare Street, Dublin.