A week-end of com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Span­ish Ar­mada


The Sligo Champion - - FRONT PAGE - by SORCHA CROW­LEY

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.

Pics: Carl Bren­nan

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

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