A week-end of commemoration of the Spanish Armada
SLIGO IS “PERFECT CENTRE” FOR ARMADA ARTEFACTS
SLIGO could be a “perfect centre” for a National Maritime Museum to house the 13 Armada cannon and other artefacts recovered off Streedagh Beach in 2015.
That’s according to leading Irish archeologist Fionnbarr Moore who gave the local campaign for a Maritime Museum in Sligo a boost with his comments at the first Spanish Armada International Conference this weekend.
Fionnbarr Moore who is Head of the Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) of the National Monuments Service and leader of the dive team which brought nine cannon ashore from La Juliana in the most recent dives in 2015, said that Sligo would be “the natural home for such a development.”
“Ireland sadly lacks a National Maritime Museum. A museum like that doesn’t have to be based in Dublin. The West is probably the most obvious place in terms of people’s connection with the sea,” he said.
“The Streedagh sites will be there to be investigated forever, and to have a museum that engages with that and the broader maritime archaeology story, and in Sligo, I could see that as the perfect centre for it,” he said.
Speaking of the significance of the Streedagh Armada wrecks, where three ships, La Santa María de Visón, La Lavia and La Juliana, foundered in 1588 with the loss of 1,100 lives, Fionnbarr added:
“In world terms, that is a rare find of massive significance. Because there’s so much information on the guns, you can say so much about the time and the people, they are an extraordinary find. I think as the story grows, we develop our research further, I think that there will be a growing awareness of how important the story is.”
Mr. Moore was just one of several expert speakers at the Spanish Armada International Conference, which took place in conjunction with the Celtic Fringe Festival in Grange.
The weekend culminated in a ‘Remembering the Armada’ ceremony at Streedagh Beach on Sunday.
Spanish dignitaries included the Spanish Ambassador to Ireland, HE José María Rodriguez- Coso and the second in command of the Spanish Navy, Admiral José Antonio Ruesta, who arrived aboard the OPV Arnomendi. Admiral Ruesta said that it was very important for Spain to continue to grow the bonds between the countries.
HE Rodriguez- Coso spoke of being deeply moved by the beach ceremony which saw local volunteers embed 1,100 timber crosses into the sand at Streedagh, each one representing the life of a sailor from the Spanish Armada.
“Congratulations to everybody, it was an excellent job,” he told the gathered crowds.
Ambassador of Spain to Ireland, HE, José María Rodríguez Coso with Peter Gau from Ballintrillick who made the 1,100 crosses, with Peter’s sons Luka and Matthew Gau