By BRIAN MOORE
A ‘MYSTERY’ boat has been discovered buried under years of mud and silt on the banks of the River Ilen in Skibeereen.
The remains of the boat were exposed while contractors continued the town’s flood relief work this week.
‘The bad weather and high tides have hampered us from getting a good look at what remains of the boat,’ Brendan Minihane of Cork County Council told The Southern Star. ‘We have very little information at the moment. However, the work to uncover the boat below an old quay wall at the Marsh, by archaeologist Julianna O’Donoghue and her team, is about to get underway and we will have more information about the boat as soon as this is completed.’
The discovery has generated a lot of interest, and different theories about the boat, and what it was used for, are being discussed.
‘I am convinced it’s a “sand boat”,’ Skibbereen resident and former town councillor Frank Fahy said. ‘That section of the Marsh, where the quay wall is and where the boat was discovered, was owned by Miss May Levis, whose father had a builders’ providers back in the late 1800s and into the early 1930s. They used to transport sand and other building materials upriver in flat-bottomed boats.’
However, identifying the remains of the boat at this point is proving difficult for Ms O’Donoghue and her team, as there is a lot of excavation work to be carried out first.
‘At the moment our plan is to uncover the remains first,’ Julianna said. ‘We are putting together a work plan and I have been in contact with the National Museum, the National Monument Service, and the contractor, so that we can proceed to the first stage of the project, which will be to uncover the boat. We’ll know more over the next few days.’