If the Wild Atlantic Way is not just about tourist marketing…

To close the evening, this important if not quite urgent message from Irish historian Hiram Morgan, telllng it like it is:

Even though the Armada had failed in the English Channel, its terrible end on the Irish coast had ironic consequences as it had destabilised the North-West and helped usher in the Nine Years War (1594-1603) during which the Irish leaders sought Spanish assistance against England.

And:

Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam, who made a looping march through Connacht and Ulster in late 1588 said that he saw enough wreckage to build ‘five of the greatest ships that ever I saw’. Since his main interest was getting his grubby hands on Spanish gold, it was probably left to others to salvage the boats, cables, cordage and masts littering the shoreline. Yet it is plain from contemporary maps that parts of the ships remained visible out to sea for years until they eventually disappeared beneath the waves.

More specifically (and urgently):

If the Government is any way serious about the Wild Atlantic Way project, this exactly is the sort of thing that must be accomplished. The other big Armada discoveries, La Trinidad Valencera in Inishowen and La Girona in north Antrim – were also big Mediterranean vessels.

They were stuffed full of artefacts and the results have been a new museum in Derry and the transformation of the Ulster Museum from a significant provincial repository into one of international importance because it now houses the Armada’s gold. Those finds and their display are part of reason I became a historian of this period.

At Streedagh we have three such ships to dig out and exhibit.

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  • the keep

    Completely agree we should make much more use of this wasted really

  • Gopher

    Marine archeology seems to be booming along with wreck diving but it’s an international boom. Personally speaking I believe it would be more economic,practical and have more resonance if they could raise and restore one of the VII U Boats scuttled in Deadlight and display that. The public have moved on since the Girona. The public want a more hands on experience. I believe the executive should be trying to get a RN ship off the disposal list to sink to encourage Northern Ireland as a diving location.

    Ireland, North or South don’t do history that well far too insular you only have to look at the lack of imagination or drive round the Caroline to see that.