Corrib Antiquities

Viking Axes Found In Lough Corrib

by Zara Brady – Hon. Secretary

These axes were found together in 2013 in a boat in Lough Corrib (Click the photo for a larger view).


They date from the 11th or early 12th century. These classic ‘Viking type’ axes almost certainly belonged to Irish warriors, showing how widely the Irish adopted them. The largest axe probably had a long handle for two-handed use. All three handles were carved from cherry wood (prunus).

The newly discovered “Corrib Axes” will be on display in the National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin from 10th April 2014 where they are now conserved in perpetuity for the Nation. They will feature in the two forthcoming Exhibitions – Clontarf 1014 and Brian Boru Emperor of the Irish which commemorate the 1000th Anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf this year.

These wicked looking Viking weapons were found in an ancient vessel discovered by Trevor Northage, in his well-known survey boat, “Burlesque”, and subsequently recovered by the Underwater Archaeology Unit.

The Underwater Archaeology Unit was established in 2000 within the National Monuments Service and it manages and protects Ireland’s underwater cultural heritage (Click the photo for a larger view).


The axes date to a time when Corrib was probably much more exciting, somewhat higher, and certainly a lot more dangerous.

Trevor is certainly making a name for himself and not just on Lough Corrib; his work and discoveries, working hand in hand with the Underwater Archaeology Unit, have been featured in a new book on Lough Oughter.

If you want to see images of the various artifacts, check out this link: