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Tributes remember Spanish Armada find off Antrim coast

By Michael Shiels McNamee

It was in 1967 that a Belgian diver found himself thrust into the headlines around the world when he discovered a massive bounty of Spanish Armada gold off the north coast of Antrim.

Yesterday, a series of events were held near the site to mark half a century since Robert Stenuit discovered the remains of La Girona and its treasure at Lacada Point near the Giant's Causeway.

Organised by the North Coast Armada Connection group and the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Maura Hickey, the events included a commemoration to the 1,400-strong crew of La Girona, most of who went down with the ship when it sank in October 1588.

After the discovery the gold was purchased by the Ulster Museum and today is still free for the public to view.

Speaking at the event, Mayor Hickey said: "During my term as Mayor I wanted to do something which would highlight the significance of La Girona and further increase the tourist potential for our wonderful borough."

The day began with a wreath-laying ceremony, which was carried out by visiting Mayor of Sligo, Marie Casserly - whose own county saw the stranding of other Armada ships. Later a commemorative stone was placed for those who drowned, as part of a service held in the grounds of St Cuthbert's Church. The stone features the image of a salamander, which was the shape of one of the most notable pieces of gold found on board La Girona.

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