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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019
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A Spanish Armada cannonball just showed up on an Irish beach

Bit more interesting than crushed up cans of Dutch Gold anyway.

shutterstock_53327533 Source: Shutterstock/McCarthy's PhotoWorks

A RELIC CANNONBALL from the Spanish Armada has washed up on a beach in Co. Sligo.

Local man and committee member of the Grange Armada Development Association (GADA) Dónal Gilroy found the cannonball himself while walking on Streedagh strand.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie Gilroy says the centuries-old weapon was ‘just sitting up there waiting to be found’.

“We’ve had a number of items discovered recently because of the winter storms with them washing up then on the spring tides,” Gilroy says.

It really was as simple as that, I’ve been walking on that beach all my life and never found anything before, it’s quite incredible.

Contrary to how the ball looks above, it’s actually quite small, about 80mm in thickness.

“It would have come from a smaller swivel cannon,” says Gilroy.

It’s smaller than it looks and actually quite light.
We’re pretty sure it’s made out of granite.

So what’s next in store for the Streedagh cannonball?

Well, we’re obliged by law to tell the National Museum when we make a find like this.
They’ll be down next month to have a look and take the ball for display, but until then we’ll be showing it around the schools and that kind of thing, try and drum up a little interest in the history of it.
But it’ll be kept safe in secure storage, don’t worry!

The beach at Streedagh has long been a hotspot for Armada enthusiasts.

Three ships from the infamous 16th century naval force were driven into nearby Donegal Bay by bad weather on 21 September, 1588.

The three ships (La Lavia, La Juliana, and Santa Maria de Vision) were wrecked four days later by a heavy storm after putting down anchor off Streedagh strand.

As many as 1,100 people are thought to have died when the ships foundered.

The wrecks were rediscovered in 1985 by the ‘Streedagh Armada Group’ headed by Steve Birch and Alan King who were instrumental in raising cannons and other artifacts from the seabed.

streedagh Streedagh Strand Source: SligoWalks

The site has been described by English maritime archaeologist Dr. Douglas McElvogue as “the best archaeological site for this type of maritime archaeology in the world.”

Prior to the cannonball, two huge pieces of timber from the wrecks were found late last month.

Last September an enormous 20-foot wooden rudder from one of the wrecked galleons, was discovered washed up on the beach by a local farmer.

Read:The 33 men and a boy who kept 10,000-strong English army at bay in Cork

 Read: Archaeology has had an amazing month: Here are 7 of the most exciting discoveries

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