The Gold Boat Story

Striking Gold

Buried Treasure in an Irish Farm Field

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
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The little gold  boat was among a group of exquisite gold artifacts dating from the early Iron Age (1st century B.C.E.) found in 1896 in a farm field near Limavady, Northern Ireland. Because the objects were buried about 14 inches deep and covered in mud, ploughmen Thomas Nicholl and James Morrow did not realize at first that they were gold. The hoard included the boat, two necklaces, a bowl and a hollow collar called a torc. The plough damaged the boat so badly that a goldsmith needed to restore it. It measures 7.25 inches (18.4 cm) by 3 inches (7.6 cm) and weighs 3 ounces (85 g), has benches, oarlocks, two rows of oars, a paddle for steering, grappling tools, three forks, a yardarm and a spear. The boat and other objects in the horde may have been offerings to the Celtic sea god Manannan Mac Lir.