I love my Armada history, which conveniently forms the backdrop for my debut novel The Cross Of Santiago (shameless plug!). It’s amazing to think that one of the greatest battles in maritime history ended in a violent and unforgiving storm off the coast of Ireland. All of that history hidden underneath the waves and resting silently on the sea bed – keeping its secrets for over four centuries. And so I am always intrigued to read any news stories concerning the archaeological wreck sites around Ireland. It has been revealed that recent storms on the West Coast of Ireland have washed up some amazing finds at a beach in County Sligo. A local maritime historian has warned that one of three Spanish Armada wrecks off the coast of Streedagh in Sligo may be under threat following the discovery of what appears to be ballast from one of the galleons on the beach.
This is an excerpt from The Irish Times explaining the find:
Donal Gilroy from the Grange and Armada Development Association (GADA) said the discoveries underlined the fragility of the wrecks, described by one expert as “the best archaeological site for this time of maritime archaeology in the world”.The National Museum and the heritage office at Sligo County Council were notified yesterday about the finds, which follow the discovery last year of part of a 20ft rudder from one of the vessels on the beach.About 1,100 sailors died when three Spanish galleons were wrecked in violent storms off Streedagh in 1588. An interpretative centre is planned for the nearby village of Grange but there have been calls for the vessels to be excavated and housed in a purpose built local museum.Mr Gilroy said it was possible that scheduled low tides this weekend may expose more wreckage.“These have been buried off Streedagh for nearly 430 years. It is lucky they were not carried out by the tide,” he said.He said that at the request of the county council he was placing the two pieces of wood, one found on Thursday by a member of the GADA, and the other yesterday, in salt water at an undisclosed location to ensure they are properly preserved pending a visit next week by experts from the National Museum.“One piece is 13 feet long and the other about 16 feet long and they are well preserved oak. They both look like they came from the rib of a boat”, he said.Thee three wrecks are located about 60 meters from the low tide mark in 15 meters of water.“This is a protected site but we worry that these boats are being moved by storms. They have thrown up more in the last two years than in the previous 40,” said Mr Gilroy.He said that there was a fully intact gun carriage and a number of cannons which were taken from the city walls in Palermo, on the vessels at Streedagh.
The Cross Of Santiago is a mystery that will lead you far into the past, through the eyes of a young woman who is searching for the missing pieces of herself. Unlock the secret to an ancient love story, destined to find its happy ending in the present.
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