Divers recover a cannon from  La Juliana , a Spanish Armada ship, at Streedagh Beach, Sligo in 2015 (© Underwater Archaeology Unit)

Divers recover a cannon from La Juliana, a Spanish Armada ship, at Streedagh Beach, Sligo in 2015 (© Underwater Archaeology Unit)

Internationally renowned Spanish Armada experts head for Sligo, Ireland, this September 22nd-24th for the first Spanish Armada International Conference, taking place at the Clayton Hotel.

‘The Gathering Storm’, as the Conference subtitle goes, will bring together some of the foremost Armada experts from Ireland and overseas for what should be an exciting weekend of discussion and debate, and additional fringe events will fully bring into focus the events of the wild Winter of 1588, when three Spanish Armada ships were wrecked on nearby Streedagh Beach in Sligo.

As a lead member of the original dive team which recovered artifacts from one of the Streedagh wreck sites in 1985, Colin Martin is an internationally renowned archaeological expert whose lecture at the Conference will focus on seven different Armada wrecks located around the Irish coast, including the three at Streedagh.

Spanish archaeologist Dr Ivan Negueruela will explore the most recent work by scholars and researchers in the field of Armada studies, while Dr Fred Hocker will describe research being undertaken at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm in relation to shipwrecks of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period.

Other internationally renowned Armada experts such as Dr Augusto Salgado (Portugal), Dr Renato Ridella & Professor Carlo Beltrame (Italy) will provide a broader context, outlining the background to the Armada, what it set out to do, the origins of the ships and weaponry involved, and the circumstances which led to its defeat by the English, leading ultimately to the retreat around Scotland and Ireland, leading to the loss of over 20 ships off the Irish coast.

Leading Irish experts Fionnbarr Moore, Connie Kelleher and Karl Brady – members of the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the National Museum, were central figures in the dive operation which led to the recovery of 9 cannon and other artifacts from La Juliana at Streedagh in 2015. They will present on the findings, the recovery mission and the ongoing conservation process which is being undertaken on the Streedagh finds in Dublin.

With a contemporaneous account of the cataclysmic events of 1588 vividly recounted by Captain Francisco de Cuéllar in his memoir, this conference will aim to tease out the historical detail of the time, as well as providing a broader context for us to interpret the tempestuous environment in which Europe found itself at the time.

Ticket prices for the conference range from €129 for a weekend ticket to all of the conference events (including a buffet on Friday and lunches on both Saturday and Sunday) to daily entry fees of €49, with reductions available to students. Along with many fringe events – such as following the De Cuéllar Trail on bus and walking tours, the Remembering the Armada ceremony which will take place at Streedagh on Sunday 24th, it promises to be an event which will enlighten those with an interest in local history, provide detailed information for those with a keen interest in Armada studies, and the wide range of Fringe Events will provide us all with a really wonderful opportunity to immerse ourselves in a unique and important chapter of Irish history.

For ticket details, select the Buy Tickets link on www.spanisharmadaireland.com.