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Laurence Dunne Archaeology,
3, Lios na Lohart, Ballyvelly,
Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Jan 29, 2015

IPMAG Conference

This year's Irish Post Medieval Archaeology Group conference being held in Kinsale features a number of lectures relating to projects which we have been associated with, including:

- The Colla Shipwreck (Julianna O'Donoghue)

- The Lusitania (Fionbarr Moore)

- The Aud Shipwreck (Karl Brady)

IPMAG XV Conference Poster 2015.pdf

IPMAG XV Conference Programme 2015.pdf

May 7, 2013

98th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania off the Old Head of Kinsale 7th May 1915

At 2.10 pm on the afternoon of the 7th May 1915 the Cunard liner RMS Lusitania was struck on the starboard side near the bridge with a torpedo fired from U-20. Almost immediately after impact the Lusitania shuddered from the effects of a second massive explosion. By 2.30pm the Lusitania sank with the extraordinary loss of 1201 passengers and crew in only 18 minutes.

In 2011 Laurence Dunne Archaeology provided the archaeological expertise for an expedition jointly undertaken by National Geographic Channel and F. Gregg Bemis Jnr., owner of the wreck, to try to determine the cause of the 2nd explosion.

No significant artefacts were recovered at the time. However a subsequent continuance in late August 2011 did recover six significant artefacts that were conserved in our facility in Tralee in association with York Archaeological Trust. The artefacts included two round portholes, two windows from the 1st Class cabins, a tell-tale and a telemotor. The conservation of the artefacts is now complete and they have been returned to their owner Gregg Bemis.

Minister for the Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, recently met with Gregg Bemis to discuss his offer of presenting some of these artefacts to the State.

Jul 1, 2012

Visit to Laurence Dunne Archaeology facility in Tralee by Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltact, Mr. Jimmy Deenihan

Last Monday 25th June Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan called to our conservation facility in Tralee to inspect the recent maritime artefacts recovered from the Lusitania, the Aud and  Rutland Island shipwreck. Minister Deenihan, who spent over an hour in our facility examining the artefacts, was greeted by Laurence Dunne who introduced the Minister to the assembled group that included members of the Aud Archaeological Dive Recovery Expedition as well as archaeologist Connie Kelleher of the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the DAHG. At the conclusion of his visit Minister Deenihan enthusiastically addressed the small group and expressed his praise for the success of the recent Aud expedition as well as the quality of the artefacts and the fact that they were being stored and conserved in Kerry.

Members of the Aud Anchors Archaeological Recovery Expedition with Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht in Laurence Dunne Archaeology facility at Tralee, Co. Kerry.
L-R: Liam Doyle, J.P Brick, Paul Dolan, Julianna O'Donoghue, Laurence Dunne, Ian Panter, Minister Deenihan, Connie Kelleher, John Moriarty, Eoin McGarry and Timmy Carey.

Connie Kelleher of the Underwater Archaeology Unit and director of excavations for the 16th century Rutland Island Shipwreck showing Minister Deenihan some of the excavated ceramics in Tralee. The Rutland Island shipwreck excavation is entirely funded by Minister Deenihan's Dept. Arts, Heritage & Gaeltact. Also in the picture is Laurence Dunne principal of Laurence Dunne Archaeology.

Jun 20, 2012

Recovery of Aud Anchors -Irish Independent June 20 ,2012

Almost 100 years on, anchors surface from gun-run ship

By Majella O'Sullivan

Irish Independent  Wednesday June 20 2012

THE FIRST anchor was brought above water just before noon from the seabed where it had lain attached to the wreck of the most famous gun-running ship in Irish history.

Yesterday, a team of marine archeologists and divers recovered the two anchors of the much-storied Aud.

The German ship was scuttled in Cork Harbour in 1916 with 20,000 Russian rifles, 10 machine guns and five million rounds of ammunition that were bound for the Irish Volunteers still on board.

The second anchor was recovered just before 1pm, off the coast of Cobh in Co Cork.

It was the culmination of over two years work by the team that will now begin a three-year conservation of the anchors ahead of the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising.

By then it is hoped that one of the anchors -- an admiralty pattern anchor --will go on permanent display in Fenit, Co Kerry. The second one, a stockless anchor, will be returned to Cobh.

Last night, the precious objects were making their way by truck to Tralee, Co Kerry.

There, marine archeologist Laurence Dunne, who headed the recovery expedition with Dungarvan diver Eoin McGarry, will begin the conservation.


Mr Dunne was on board the Ron Carraig, skippered by Gavin Tivy, in Cork Harbour yesterday to witness the anchors being lifted aboard.

The first to be recovered weighs about half a tonne, while the second one weighs significantly more -- between one and a half and two tonnes.

"It's a wonderful day and a historic occasion for everyone involved," Mr Dunne said.

"There was quite a flotilla that accompanied us out to sea, made up of people from Cork, Kerry and Waterford who have followed this project.

"It really was an historic event and the first time we've had a local endeavour with communities. It will be a template for the future of how we're going to do work like this."

The famous gun run of 1916 was masterminded by Roger Casement, using the German ship, the SMS Libau disguised as a Norwegian liner and renamed the Aud.

It had been decided that Mr Casement would travel to Fenit in Co Kerry by U-boat to meet with the Aud. But this never happened and he was captured by the British near Tralee.

Having successfully evaded a number of British Navy patrols, the Aud anchored off the Magharee Islands in Tralee Bay on April 20, 1916.

After leaving Tralee Bay the Aud was captured by a British flotilla and escorted to Cobh.

At the entrance to Cork Harbour, the crew donned their German uniforms and ran up their colours before scuttling the Aud. They were subsequently interned for the rest of the war.

Mr Casement was later hanged for treason.

The expedition was licensed by Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan and monitored by the Underwater Archeology Unit of the National Monuments Service.

- Majella O'Sullivan

Irish Independent

Jun 13, 2012

Lower Abbey Street Excavations, Tralee, Co. Kerry

First phase of excavations at Lr. Abbey Street are currently underway and initial results were immediate and dramatic revealing the entire limits of the late 18th-early 19th century Fish Market of Tralee. Removal of the upper modern fill material revealed a virtually intact cobbled surface street delimited on both sides by parallel cut limestone guttering as well as many of the original socket stones on which the upright timber supports of the market stalls were inserted.  It is denoted on the 1st Ed. OS map of Tralee town from 1841 but was in ruins by 1877 as denoted on the Denny Rental Book maps in 1877. The fish market was built on the site of the medieval Dominican Abbey of the Holy Cross founded in AD1243.

Apr 26, 2012

New Website

New website live! Delighted that we have the new site up and running. Stay tuned for updates and new information.

Aug 23, 2011

Lusitania article in the Irish Times

As we are involved with the recent dive work on the Lusitania the Irish Times wrote this article.