Carrick Shipwreck Claimed 140 Lives

Sligo Weekender, Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Dear Sir,
 The story about the arrival of Mr. Charles Kavanagh and his daughters at Rosses Point on their yacht ‘Carrick’ is a very interesting one indeed, and they must have had some very rough times on passage in order to find their roots in Sligo. The ancestor must have been one of the 48 rescued in the story.
According to John McTernan’s book ‘Memory Harbour’ Lord Palmerston chartered the sailing vessel ‘Carrick’ of White haven, Cumberland, England to transport some of his tenants who were fleeing the famine in 1847 off to Quebec, Canada. Palmerston owned a large estate in North Sligo.
The ‘Carrick’ sailed from Sligo with 187 souls on board at the end of March 1844 and all went well when crossing the North Atlantic and she entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the 28th of April and was very near the end of her voyage when a sudden vicious storm blew up from the north and the crew were unable to shorten sail and the vessel was blown onto rocks close to the little settlement of Cap de Rosiers.
Most of the crew and passengers were drowned while 48 were rescued by local fishermen. In the days that followed 87 bodies were washed ashore and were buried in a mass grave over which an imposing monument, in the shape of a cross, was erected to their memory. It bears the following inscription:
Sacred to the memory of 187 Irish immigrants from Sligo wrecked here on April 28, 1847 Ship Carrick of Whitehaven, 87 are buried here, pray for their souls.
Erected by the parish of St. Patrick’s, Montreal, Monsignor Quinlan OFF.
Most of the survivors of that awful tragedy settled on the Gulf of St. Lawrence where their descendants can still be traced by their distinctive Irish surnames.

Frank Devaney,
Captain rtd.,
County Dublin