Of the 130 Spanish ships that set out from Spain in 1588 to invade England, over 20 of them were wrecked off the North and West coasts of Ireland. National Museums NI has objects from three of these ships.
The Girona which was wrecked at Lacada Point, near the Giant's Causeway, County Antrim. La Trinidad Valencera which ran aground in Kinnagoe Bay, County Donegal - and a small number of objects from the Santa Maria de La Rosa which sank suddenly in Blasket Sound, County Kerry.
The results of the excavation of the Girona were truly spectacular - 414 gold and 789 silver coins and an unparalleled collection of superb gold jewellery. The jewellery includes personally inscribed rings, crosses belong to religious orders and chains of office.
Material from the Trinidad differed in that more organic material survived including textiles - but the most impressive objects were the two massive siege-guns. Cast in 1556 they bare the crest of the Spanish king. Also preserved were several gun carriage wheels, a reminder that the Armada was intent on invading England. Material from the Trinidad is also on display in the Tower Museum in Derry.
All in all, the finds from the Trinadad were a perfect complement to the Girona. Together they present a vivid picture of life on board sixteenth century Spanish warships.
The Museum’s Armada collection is recognised as being of international importance.
A collection of international importance