Bronze Age Sword Found in Offaly – Jonathan O’Meara

Sep 20 2014 Posted by Office Administraton

sword sword 2 sword 3A county Offaly scuba diver recovered a 3500- year -old Bronze Age sword from the river Shannon near Banagher, Co Offaly yesterday. The remarkable discovery was made by a Banagher native Michael O’Rourke. Michael, who is a member of the Shannonside Sub Aqua Club in Banagher, Co Offaly, stumbled on the important artefact during on a routine search and recovery exercise. The medieval relic is believed to be a Bronze Age sword that dates back to the 1050 BC. The experienced diver said he was over the moon to discover such an important artefact. “Two of my diving buddies who are also members of Shannonside Sub Aqua Club have recovered period swords from the river Shannon over the last number of years so I’m delighted to have eventually have found one myself. The Banagher based sub aqua club immediately made contact with officials at the National Museum and the sword was quickly confirmed to be a Bronze Age Sword dating back to the 1050 BC. Dr. Andy Halpin, Assistant Keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum described the find as important. “The sword found in the river Shannon near Banagher is a ‘Bronze Age sword that dates back anywhere from between 1050 to 1500 BC.  It most likely to be 3500 years old. In the past the Shannonside Sub Aqua Club have discovered Viking and Celt Swords from the river Shannon and we know that there is a lot of historical evidence of Viking activity on the Shannon in the 9th and 10th centuries; however from the 10th century onwards, there is also evidence that Irish kings especially Brian Boru had ships on the Shannon. “In all of these cases they are important discoveries and the National Museum of Ireland are once again very grateful for the cooperation of Shannonside Sub Aqua Club and their divers in the discovery and recovery of this particular sword.”

The National Museum of Ireland are currently exhibiting a 1000-year-old Viking sword that was also found Banagher in 2012 as part of an exhibition to commemorate the Battle of Clontarf at the National Museum of Ireland. The exhibition runs until the end of December 2014 and will be based in the Museum of Archaeology on Kildare Street, Dublin.