The Derganagh Boat

Today, the Ballinahone (or Ballynahone as it is on the Ordnance Survey maps and Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland) Bog is a raised bog, and Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) and it’s conservation is protected by law. However, it should be remembered that this was not always the case. In fact, in the distant past, this area was a large lake created after the end of the last ice age and in the eight to ten thousand years since its formation, the lake has gradually silted up and filled with the dead vegetation of the plants than grew around it and on / in it. So, it should come as no surprise that today ancient boats might be unearthed. One such boat was discovered in 1813:

“On Monday, 7th of September, 1813, Mr. Thomas Armstrong of Darganagh, in the parish of Termoneeny, found in his land, at the foot of Knockloughrain hill, four feet from the surface of earth, an oak boat, 23½ feet long and 6 feet wide. It was made after the manner of the Indian canoes, of one large tree, and was perfectly sound, its bottom being thickly coated with a hard bituminous substance, something like pitch. On the stern was a projection, with a hole in it for a cable, and it lay alongside a small quay. Under the boat lay several oars or poles, which were quite rotten. Near the place where this ancient boat was discovered, the banks of what was once appeared to have been a canal, communicating with the lowlands adjoining the bog, may be distinctly traced.”

Reverend John Graham, 1813.

A Statistical Account or Parochial survey of Ireland. Parish of Maghera, William Shaw Mason, et al., Grainsberry and Campbell, 1814