Viking and Ancient boats discovered in Ireland


three viking axes

Three axes were found together in 2013 in a boat in Lough Corrib, and date to the 11th or early 12th century. Photo from National Museum of Ireland

Archaeologists in Ireland have discovered the remains of boats dating back to the Bronze and Iron Age, including one from the 11th century that may have belonged to Viking raiders.

Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Ireland’s Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, made the announcement of the discoveries last week. The boats were found in Lough Corrib, a lake in the western part of the country. The boars, of which the oldest dates back to over 4500 years ago, were found by the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the National Monuments Service.

The Minister said the logboats “are not only an outstanding find in their own right but are also accompanied by a remarkable range of high quality artefacts.”

The Minster speculated that one of the logboats, found near Carrowmoreknock, may have been on a raid when it sank as it contained a selection of 11th-century weapons, including three Viking style battle-axes with intact wooden handles, an iron work axe and two iron spearheads. The three battle-axes will be a centrepiece of the National Museum of Ireland’s Battle of Clontarf commemorative exhibition, due to be launched by the Minister tonight.

The Minister said that he was “delighted” to be able to support his Department’s continuing investigations into what he termed a find of major archaeological and historical significance. “The range of logboat discoveries, extending from the Bronze and Iron Ages up to medieval times, coupled with the associated weaponry, presents a whole selection of new evidence that will help to create a much greater understanding of life on the lake and in the wider hinterland over several thousand years,” said the Minister.

He added that the exceptional quality of the finds also meant that they provided “a unique insight into a wide range of prehistoric and medieval activities, including raiding, hunting, wood working, boat building, trade, travel and transport.”




Sharan Newman