What We Know about the Boyne Boat

Boats are part of Ireland’s heritage. From the story of St. Brendan the Navigator crossing the Atlantic to Galway’s famous red-sailed hookers and the iconic curragh boat and Viking longboats, our savvy with watercraft has long been one of our Irish gifts. The fragment discovered in the banks of the Boyne would have been the base of the boat. At a glance, the broad, flat piece of wood does not look especially significant aside from it being a very large piece of wood. It measures three meters long, and experts estimate that the whole boat was more than four meters long. The craft was carved out of an oak tree with stone axes. The boat remains are now at the National Museum of Ireland.

This is not the first ancient boat discovered at the River Boyne, although it is the only one so far to back to the Neolithic period. Remains of ten other log boats have been discovered along the River Boyne over the years. In 2013, members of the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery Group discovered a section of another log boat partially submerged in the riverbed during a clean- up. That find featured unusual cut outs on the edge of the wood that could have been for holding oars.

The Boyne Valley is the heart of Ireland’s ancient heritage with its intriguing passage tombs and beautiful stone carvings. It is home to the Hill of Tara, seat of the High Kings of Ireland. The finds in this rich valley have inspired motifs used on Irish gifts from jewelry to clothing to kitchen wares.