A New Dug-out Canoe

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  • County Louth Archaeological and History Society

    A New Dug-out CanoeAuthor(s): J. J. R.Source: Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, Vol. 12, No. 3 (1951), pp. 126-127Published by: County Louth Archaeological and History SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27728779 .Accessed: 14/06/2014 17:27

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  • & J^eto ?us=out Canoe

    During the recent drainage operations on the River Glyde, carried out by the

    Office of Public Works, a wooden dug-out canoe was discovered on June 23, 1950,

    resting in the peat on the bottom. The site lay in the townland of Irishtown, almost

    opposite the mound known as Derrycammagh Fort.

    The discovery was reported to the Keeper of Irish Antiquities in the National

    Museum by Mr. R. E. Cross, B.E., acting on behalf of the Commissioners of Public

    Works, and by Father Maclvor, the Honorary Secretary of our Society. To these two

    gentlemen, as well as to the Resident Engineer at Ardee, Mr. B. O'Neill, B.E., our

    best thanks are due for their help on every occasion and for the facilities afforded

    during the inspection and the later removal of the canoe. After inspection it was

    agreed that it would be stored best by this Society and it rests now with the Society's collection in the Public Library in Dundalk.

    Unfortunately, the boat was somewhat damaged on discovery and it is now in

    two parts. The total length, when complete, must have been about 12 feet. It is

    2 feet wide at one end, which is incomplete, is 2 ft. 3 ins. at its widest part amidships, and narrows again to about 15 inches at the other end. The sides, which

    are nearly

    vertical, are 2\ inches thick and the bottom, which is flat, varies from 3 to 4 inches

    in thickness. It is not possible to state definitely which end was bow and which

    stern; and the absence of all features, such as supports for thwarts or attachments

    for row-locks or thole-pins, prevents one from obtaining any idea as to the number

    of oars or paddles used to propel the boat. On the floor-board near the wider end

    there is a semi-circular projecting piece of wood left to act, presumably, as a foot-rest

    for an oarsman. The boat is made of oak (Quereus) A

    1. As identified by the Forest Products Research Laboratory, Princes Risborough, England. This and other information regarding the discovery has been kindly supplied by Mr. J. C. Walsh, Kilsaran House, Castlebellingham.

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    It is to be regretted that this boat is rather featureless, for it is one of the few

    that have come to light in rivers. The dug-out or

    monoxylus canoe is quite a common

    item of water transport in lakes and many examples have been found in this country. The type is widespread in Europe1 and there is ample evidence for its use from

    Neolithic times down to the twentieth century. In England it is possible to fit new

    discoveries into a general tentative chronological framework, but in Ireland so far

    only three examples allow of approximate dating. These are the dug-outs from

    Lagore crannog (c. 600 A.D.), from Ballinderry crannog 1, County Westmeath (tenth

    century) and from Ballinderry crannog 2, County Offaly (about 800 A.D.). There is,

    however, no reason to doubt that the monoxylous canoe, as a type, was known

    considerably earlier in Ireland than the period of Lagore. About the function of the Irishtown boat not much can be said. It may have

    been used for normal transport up and down the river?an easier method of progress

    in a forested land than over rough terrain and through dense undergrowth?and it

    presumably also served for occasional fishing. It is possible also that it was used as

    a ferry for men and material at a time when bridges were not of as frequent occurrence

    as they are to-day.

    J- J- R.

    i. J. G. D. Clark, Prehistoric Europe, Fig. 154.

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    Article Contentsp. [126]p. 127

    Issue Table of ContentsJournal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, Vol. 12, No. 3 (1951), pp. 105-218Front MatterUi Cruinn, a Lost Louth Sept [pp. 105-112]Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century Decorated Headstones in County Louth [pp. 113-118]The Late Reverend Canon J. B. Leslie, D. Lit., M.R.J.A. [p. 118-118]The "Mantle of Saint Brigid" at Bruges [pp. 119-122]The West Cross, Monasterboice: A Note and a Suggestion [pp. 123-125]A New Dug-out Canoe [pp. 126-127]A Stone Chisel from County Limerick [p. 128-128]Historical Notes on Paughanstown, Roestown and Hacklim [pp. 129-196]Tithe Census of Kilsaran and Gernonstown Parishes 1837 and 1843 [pp. 197-204]ReviewsReview: untitled [p. 205-205]Review: untitled [pp. 205-206]Review: untitled [p. 206-206]Review: untitled [pp. 206-207]Review: untitled [p. 207-207]Review: untitled [pp. 207-208]Review: untitled [p. 208-208]Review: untitled [p. 208-208]Review: untitled [pp. 208-209]Review: untitled [p. 209-209]

    Annual Report, 1951 [pp. 210-214]Back Matter