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New Film Shows How Tree Went From Oak to Boat in Iron Age Replica Project

14th December 2020
The replica logboat was modelled on the sunken boat that measures some 7.5m long, 0.61m wide and 0.4m deep. The replica logboat was modelled on the sunken boat that measures some 7.5m long, 0.61m wide and 0.4m deep.

An oak tree’s transformation from trunk to replica iron age boat on Connemara's Lough Corrib has been filmed as part of a University College Cork (UCC) project.

Entitled "A New Logboat for Lough Corrib: The Pallasboy Project", the film was made over 20 months and documents how the logboat was modelled on a 2,400-year-old vessel found at the bottom of Lough Corrib.

The original was partially excavated and recorded by Karl Brady of Ireland's National Monuments Service's Underwater Archaeology Unit.

Photographer and former archaeologist Brian Mac Domhnaill’s film begins with the felling of an oak in the Vale of Clara, Glenalough, Co Wicklow in November 2017.

It closes with the boat’s maiden voyage at Knockferry, Lough Corrib in Galway in July 2019. The boat launch was hosted in partnership with Moycullen and Oughterard Heritage, and drew national media attention. 

UCC archaeologist Dr Benjamin Gearey noted that the film documents the painstaking process of converting around two tonnes of oak tree into a close replica of a 2000 year vessel, and its joyous maiden voyage onto the waters beneath which the original still lies". 

As Afloat reported last July, the replica was modelled on the sunken boat that measures some 7.5m long, 0.61m wide and 0.4m deep.

It was created by Mark Griffiths, as part of the Pallasboy Project, an international collaborative study established at UCC to investigate the crafting of prehistoric wooden objects and involving archaeologists, woodworkers and artists.

After the log was felled and the trunk prepared, Griffiths carved the replica over a period of 18 days at the Meitheal Mara community boatyard in Cork City, using a combination of replica prehistoric and modern tools.

The project was funded by the World Wood Day Fund via the International Wood Culture Society. The replica log boat has since been gifted to Moycullen Heritage Society.

Published in Historic Boats
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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