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Check out these Spanish Armada guns that have been found off the Irish coast

The relics are believed to date back to 1588.

Image: Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

LA JULIANA WAS one of three Spanish Armada ships to sink during storms off the Irish coast in 1588.

And now cannons from the vessel - which weighed 860 tons, had a crew of 70 and carried 32 guns – have been discovered on the sands of Streedagh in County Sligo.

The three bronze cannons are in “excellent condition”, according to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

One of the guns features a depiction of St Matrona, a saint venerated by the people of Catalonia and Barcelona.

It is dated 1570, the year La Juliana was built, putting the identity of the ship beyond doubt, the Department said.

Source: Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys, who visited the wreck site this morning, said the Department’s national monuments service had “uncovered a wealth of fascinating and highly significant material, which is more than 425 years old”.

The material, she added, “is obviously very historically and archaeologically significant”.

La Juliana – which weighed 860 tons, had a crew of 70 and carried 32 guns – was one of three Armada ships to sink during storms off the Irish coast in 1588.

It had sailed between Spain and Italy as a merchant ship before it was commandeered by Spanish king Philip II for an invasion of England.

unnamed (6) Source: Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

The two other ships, La Lavia and Santa Maria de Vision, are believed to be still buried under protective layers of sand.

Over 1,000 soldiers and sailors lost their lives when the three ships sank.

Recovery of the remaining relics is set to continue for a number of weeks.

Read: A Spanish Armada cannonball just showed up on an Irish beach >

Read: What happens when a ship … becomes a wreck? >

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Catherine Healy

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