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Second canoe find floats mayor's boat

THE NATIONAL Museum is to investigate what might be the discovery of an ancient dug-out canoe by the same man who found a similar boat less than a kilometre away more than 40 years ago.

Arklow mayor Peter Dempsey said he couldn't believe his eyes when he spotted what appeared to be the remnants of a dug-out canoe embedded in the bank of the Avoca river in Arklow town.

He made a similar find as a teenager in 1966 when he and a friend found what looked like a hand-made punt fashioned out of a tree near the famous 19 Arches Bridge in the Co Wicklow town.

They hoisted the boat out of the river and transported it on a bicycle back home. They then contacted the National Museum which confirmed it was an ancient dug-out canoe dating back to somewhere between the Neolithic and Medieval period.

The canoe was photographed and archived but there was no way to preserve it then so it was left to rot in a spare room at his friend's house.

But after he spotted what looked like the same type of boat while out feeding the ducks along the riverbank, Mr Dempsey said he wasn't going to take any chances this time around.

He has kept it wet under a tarpaulin to preserve it while he awaits a visit from a museum archeologist next week.

He believes the boat was dislodged from its watery grave where it has rested for hundreds, if not thousands. of years.

"Two local historians have seen it and are convinced it's the bee's knees," he told the Irish Independent yesterday. "If it was the real thing, Jaysus, it would be great," he added.

Nessa O'Connor, Assistant Keeper of Antiquities at the museum , said she believes it could very well be a section of an ancient dug-out canoe.

Irish Independent