Ship's exotic cargo may be pirates' haul

By Lorna Siggins - Irish Times

A leading marine archaeologist has described as “absolutely incredible” some of the initial exotic findings on a shipwreck recently discovered off the west Cork coast.

South sea coconuts and Iberian pottery have so far been recovered by Julianna O’Donoghue and her underwater archaeology team from the wreck, which may have been a pirate ship dating from the late 16th or 17th century.

The uncharted vessel was located last month during archaeological monitoring of dredging for the Schull waste water treatment plant.

The monitoring is requested by the National Monuments Service underwater archaeology unit as a condition of planning and foreshore licensing.

This precaution has already led to the location of other previously unrecorded craft, such as the Gormanston logboat in Co Meath, and wrecks in Duncannon, Co Waterford, on the river Boyne in Co Louth, and Inishbofin off the Galway coast.

An exclusion zone was placed around the site in Schull and dredging work was suspended while Ms O’Donoghue assessed the wreck, with the co-operation of Cork County Council.

west Cork coast shipwreck South sea coconuts Julianna O’Donoghue Cork County Council