Tests to determine if Sligo boat is part of doomed Spanish Armada fleet
Tests are being conducted on the remains of a boat in Co Sligo to determine if it was part of the Spanish Armada fleet.
The vessel, dubbed locally as the 'Butter Boat', has lain on Streedagh beach in North Sligo for more than a century.
It is close to the to the site of three wrecked Spanish Armada ships - La Livia, Santa Maria de Vison and La Julianna - which sank during a storm in 1588 while retreating form the ill-fated Spanish invasion of England. Some 1,100 people died in the sinking.
Many people believe the 'Butter Boat' could be a fourth ship from the Spanish Armada even though historians have thought this highly unlikely.
Now, tests are being conducted to ascertain the age of the 'Butter Boat' and see if it was part of the Spanish fleet or not.
Members of the Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht recently took samples from the boat to determine it's age.
Separately, the Grange and Armada Development Association (GADA) has been calling for for a survey of the ships' wreck site after recent winter storms threw up an unprecedented number of timbers. GADA is concerned that one or more of the wrecks, which up to now were thought to lie beneath the sand, are being lost to the sea.
The UAU has now agreed to conduct a dive later this month to assess the condition of the Spanish Armada wrecks.
"The UAU shares our concerns and have been pro active in providing support from their limited and overstretched resources. A diving programme is being planned and will be activated as soon as the weather allows, in a matter of weeks," said Eddie O’Gorman, Chairman of GADA.
"Until we know the current status of the site, we cannot formulate a plan of action to recover and preserve the treasure trove of artefacts that the wrecks most certainly contain.”