Archaeologists to probe Spanish Armada burial site in Clare

Archaeologists to probe Spanish Armada burial site in Clare

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Spanish ArmadaArchaeologists are to undertake a study of two burial sites in Spanish Point understood to contain the remains of some of those who sailed on Spanish Armada ships wrecked off the West Clare coast.

The research forms part of ongoing efforts to locate the wrecked remains of the 790-ton, 25 metre long San Marcos, which sank with the loss of 400 lives near Seafield in September 1588.

The San Marcos Project is being led by West Clare native and PhD student at Mary Immaculate College, John Treacy.

In July, a team of archaeologists from Rubicon Heritage Services will conduct a geophysical survey of a site at Spanish Point that is thought to contain burials related to the San Marcos and another Spanish Armada vessel, the San Esteban.

According to Irish Archaeology, it is hoped that this non-invasive survey will determine whether a mass burial did actually occur at Spanish Point.

Representing the pride of the Spanish Navy, the San Esteban and San Marcos ships sank during a violent storm on the 20th of September 1588, with the loss of over 700 men (both sailors and soldiers). They had been attempting to return to Spain, via the west coast of Ireland, after a disastrous encounter with the English Navy.

Roughly 60 survivors from the two ill-fated ships made it ashore, where they were promptly captured by Boetius Clancy, High Sheriff of Clare. The Spanish sailors were shown little mercy and after a short imprisonment were hanged on a nearby hill. Their remains were subsequently buried in a mass grave on Spanish Point, the suspected site of which is now being investigated by Rubicon Heritage Services.

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