THE wreckage of a sunken vessel believed to be from the Spanish Armada has been discovered off the Donegal coast.
Underwater archaeologists are to explore the historic wreck, located in shallow waters in Rutland Harbour, near Burtonport.
Evidence uncovered during a dive survey revealed the vessel was most likely a 16th century ship, possibly part of the 1588 Spanish Armada.
Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan has granted €50,000 for the excavation, to be carried out by the underwater archaeology unit of his department’s National Monuments Service.
He said the discovery was a major find, of significance not only to Ireland but also to the international archaeological, historical and maritime communities.
“If, in fact, it proves to be an Armada vessel... it could provide huge insight into life on board and the reality of the military and naval resources available to the Armada campaign.”
Up to 24 ships of the 130-strong fleet were wrecked along Ireland’s coast.
The location of the latest vessel means the search team will have better than usual access to find artefacts.
Nearly 10,000 pieces of treasure were discovered on the biggest ship in the fleet, the Girona, which sunk off Antrim’s coast.
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