2011/1/16 Richard Marsh <[log in to unmask]>
> Liz wondered:
> "I would guess Iron Age. Do we have any idea what boats looked like at
> that time? Any boat finds? Or old drawings?"
> Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh (2008) Traditional Boats of Ireland, History,
> Folklore and Construction. Cork: The Collins Press.
There's also Colin Breen and Wes Forsythe (2004) Boats & Shipwrecks of
Ireland (Tempus). In their fairly meagre Iron Age section they say 'While
no hide-covered or larger wooden ship survives in the Irish archaeological
record, two important finds indicate the different concepts and technologies
employed in boat-building in the Iron Age. The Broighter boat model is
probably an example of the emerging native form, while the carvel-built
Lough Lene boat shows unmistakable Mediterranean influences.' (p40)
Broighter is of course the little gold model with oars and mast. Lough
Lene is apparently radiocarbon-dated to the first few centuries AD (an
authoritative report is hard to come by), seems to have been about eight
metres long, and had oars (I haven't found a reference to a mast). There is
a spurious association with St Patrick. There doesn't seem to be agreement
about whether it was an outright import or a native build under strong
influence, but it does seem to show that the Irish could have been building
boats like it if they'd been inclined.