Shipwrecks on other shores

By John C. McTernan

January 1839

The brig Andrew Nugent was wrecked off Arranmore Island on January 6th, the night of the Big Wind on a voyage from Sligo to Glasgow.

July 1840

The Britannia of Sligo owned by Thomas Kernaghan and on voyage from St John, New Brunswick, was driven onto the beach at Kildoney on July 25th, 1840. Her deck load was subsequently discharged but the vessel became a wreck.

December 1843

The Islay of Sligo lost on a reef off the coast of Africa on her way to New South Wales. The crew were saved. In August of the previous year, the vessel, under the command of Captain Galt, arrived safely in Hobart Town, on a voyage from London.

January 1846

The Paddle-Steamer Rambler, on a voyage from Liverpool to Sligo, ran aground on the Madden Rocks, off Larne, and stuck fast. Passengers and crew rescued and part of cargo saved.

March 1847

Brig Dermerest (193 tons) with 24 souls, including crew onboard, sailed for New York at the end of February. She was only 85 foot 7 inches long, 20 foot four inches beam and 14 foot deep. She had a single deck and two masts. The vessel cleared Sligo Bay on March 1st. She reached mid Atlantic by March 19th when disaster struck. A sudden hurricane dismantled her main mast, breaking the foremast and carried away the pumps. The Dermerest began to leak badly and quickly reached a sinking state with rudder adrift. Two days later passengers and crew were taken aboard the barque Falcon which landed them safely at St John, New Brunswick, on April 13th.

April 1847

The Carrick of Whitehaven sailed for Quebec in March 1847 loaded with emigrants from the Palmerston Estate. On April 28th, when nearly at her destination, she encountered a severe storm in the Gulf of St Lawrence and was wrecked at Cap De Rosiers with the loss of close on 200 lives.

October 1851

The Connaught Ranger, a screw steamer, was wrecked at Buninver, County Donegal, on a voyage from Sligo to Liverpool.

September 1853

Schooner Susan, property of Middleton & Pollexfen, wrecked off the Blasket Islands on a voyage from Liverpool to Galway, with a cargo of salt. The cargo was lost but crew saved by a passing schooner.

November 1853

The brig California Packet, on a voyage from Sligo to New York, foundered in the Atlantic. Passengers and crew took to the lifeboats, but a number of the former subsequently died from exposure.

January 1856

The Tory, owned by John Hodgson and James Brown of Sligo, lost off Donegal on a voyage from Glasgow to Sligo. All the crew lost.

December 1874

The brig Brothers, bound for Sligo, with a cargo of coal for Charles Anderson, was wrecked in a gale off Rathlin Island on December 8th 1874.

September 1881

The fast sailing schooner Jane Millen built at Carrickfergus in 1867 and owned by Harper Campbell, sailed from Sligo for Troon in ballast in September 1881. She carried a crew of six, including Andrew Gillen, Master, and Joseph McGowan, Mate, both from Rosses Point. After two days at sea she encountered a severe storm and was dismasted. As she drifted aimlessly in stormy seas, with the pumps going continuously, the ballast shifted and had to be trimmed. Provisions were nearly all destroyed and the crew were restricted to a biscuit and two glasses of water a day. Fortunately for an exhausted crew, the Vandalier, a mail steamer en route to Hamburg, observed the plight of the schooner and took them off. Shortly afterwards, the Jane Millen went ashore and was wrecked of Stornaway on the Scottish Coast.

No news had been received of the fate of the crew from the date of their departure to November 21st when Kilgallon wired from Hamburg. They had been feared lost and prayers were offered in the local church. The Captain and his crew arrived back in Sligo on December 1st, none the worse for their ordeal.

January 1882

The 340-ton SS Ballina, owned by Messrs Polexfen, sailed from Liverpool for Ballina on January 5th, 1882, with a general cargo. Shortly after her departure a strong northwesterly gale blew up and quickly developed into a storm. When the Ballina failed to reach her destination a week later, fears for her safety grew apace.

Meanwhile, portions of wreckage and three bodies had been washed up on the Isle of Man coastline and were subsequently identified as belonging to the ill-fated vessel. It appears that she foundered in the storm during her first night at sea. She was under the command of Captain Charles Lynn, son of Doctor Lynn of Sligo, and three of the crew - all of whom were lost - were from Ballina.

September 1883

Screw steamship Iris, which was a regular trader on the Sligo - Glasgow route was wrecked of the Island of Innistrahull on her way to Sligo. She was carrying 300 tons of cargo and some passengers. All were saved with the exception of one crew member.

March 1888

The 88-ton screw steamer Galgorm Castle, the property of Messrs Harper Campbell Ltd, was wrecked in Luce Bay on a voyage from Garston to Sligo with a cargo of coal. Captain John Bruen and five of his crew were lost.

December 1899

The 60 ton steamer Swift, Michael Gillen, Master, foundered at the mouth of the Mersey on a voyage from Runcorn to Workington with a cargo of blue ore. The vessel encountered the full force of a gale and the cargo shifted. The crew abandoned her and were rescued by the steamer Galway. In addition to Captain Gillen, the crew consisted of M Gillen (Mate), Patrick Moffit, Martin Quinn, J Martin (Engineer) and Ned Bruen (Fireman), all from Rosses Point or Sligo Town. The Swift was owned by the Sligo Steam Navigation Company.

September 1899

Maid of the Moy, a steamer which sailed regularly between Sligo and Balina and owned by Messrs Pollexfen, was berthed at Ballycastle en route from Ballina to Belmullet, when she broke anchor and drifted onto the rocks.

December 1916

SS Liverpool, on her weekly voyage between Liverpool and Sligo, hit a mine off the Isle of Man and sank. Three lives lost.

August 1939

The SS Conan, on a voyage from Ayr to Sligo with 500 tons of coal foundered off the Mull of Kintyre in August 1939. The crew of eight and one passenger were saved.