© Ardboe Gallery, Facebook

Reeling in the Years: Ancient Irish Elk’s skull & antlers found in Lough Neagh

These are the antlers of an ancient Irish elk found by in Lough Neagh by Co. Tyrone fisherman, Raymond McElroy, last year. The antlers got caught in his nets as he fished with Charlie Coyle, who helped him pull the antlers aboard his boat.


(Photo: Ardboe Gallery, Facebook)

Interviewed by Belfast Live, McElroy said: “It came up in the net on the side of the boat. I thought it was a bit of black oak to begin with.”

“I was shocked to begin with when I got it over the side and saw the skull and antlers.”

Charlie Coyle, who helped pull the skull from the lake, told The Irish Times, “I thought it was the devil himself. I was going to throw it back in. I didn’t know what to do with it.”

The giant Irish elk’s antlers, which were found in September 2018, are approximately eight feet wide and remain at McElroy’s home.

Great Irish Elk are thought to have been present in Ireland 17,000 years ago. but subsequently suffered extinction around 11,000 years ago.

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