Other Shipwrecks on Our Shores

By Edward J. Bourke

Mediaeval Wreck

The annals of the Four Masters record that, in 1105, Flaithbeartach Ua Canannain, Lord of Cinel Conaill, his wife and a shipload of their people were drowned. Their ship was lost at sea opposite Cairbre, near Drumcliffe.


The Juliana of the Spanish Armada was wrecked at Streedagh Strand along with the La Lavia and Santa Maria de La Vision. They were found under shifting sand by British divers in 1985. Among the items recovered from the Juliana were three large canon, which are now at Dromahair undergoing restoration. Five gun carriage wheels have also been located. A rudder with nine pintails has been found but not lifted. The finding of a main anchor was quite a surprise as the Armada slipped anchors at Calais when the fleet was in danger from fire ships. The three ships were described by Bingham as being At Anchor in Sligo Harbour before the storm and they must have dragged and lost further anchors when driven ashore. A further wreck seems to have occurred at Kilfoey. De Cueillar relates that at a big strand there were many bodies and a lot of wreckage. He was travelling from Streedagh to Ballyshannon.

Butter Boat

The ribs of a boat are visible at Streedagh Strand and are presumed to belong to another Armada Ship. This wreck is known locally as the Butter Boat.

London Galley

A large London Galley grazed the isolated rock pinnacle, a mile south of Innismurray in 1732. The bottom was torn out of the vessel and she sank in deep water. Though the night was bright the rock was not apparent to the crew.


The Isaac was lost near Sligo on November 21, 1758. The Master was Mr. Clotworthy.

New York

The New York was stranded and lost at Sligo on December 23, 1816. The vessel was bound from New York to Sligo.


The Speculator was wrecked in Sligo Bay in December 1816. The vessel was bound for Sligo from Glasgow.


The Barbara was wrecked at Ballinabbey on November 5, 1817. The ship was en route to Glasgow from Sligo.

Dumbarton Castle

On January 1, 1834, the Dumbarton Castle was lost near Sligo. She was en route from Norway to Ballyshannon.

Frederick Langley

The Frederick Langley was wrecked near Sligo on January 1, 1835. The ship was bound for Sligo from Newcastle.


The schooner, Tampico, was wrecked in Sligo Bay on February 5, 1843. Captain Gregg and two crewmen survived out of a crew of seven. The following story was told and is linked by location and the Captain's name, though it was thought to have occurred about 1822: A sailing ship with a cargo of indigo dye was off the port of Sligo during a storm. The ship was attempting to enter the harbour when people ashore lit a decoy fire which Captain Gregg took as a route to safety. The ship was lured onto a rocky part of the shore at a creek now known a Poll Gorm near Aughris Head. The creek was so named because of the effect of the dye. The crew were murdered when they came ashore and their fingers cut off to remove rings. Two mounds of stones mark their graves.


The Marquis of Drogheda's 140-ton schooner rigged yacht, Fancy, was wrecked at Sligo Bay on November 26, 1859. A pilot was aboard when the vessel struck the Bungar bank. The buoy which should have marked the hazard had been missing for two years. At 5.00 am, she grounded on the bank. There was no alarm and the party was pounded on the bank, breaking her to pieces in 2 to 3 hours. The Marquis, the Marchioness and their Aide de Camp, Captain Foster, with 16 servants, escaped ashore, taking their plate. Considerable quantities of valuables were lost along with the vessel which was worth 8,000. The locals were criticised for pillaging the goods washed ashore.


The 69-ton schooner, Idwal, was wrecked on the Red Brae rock on the portion of Leitrim coast north of Mullaghmore on January 21, 1868. A headstone in the old graveyard at Kinlough with a Welsh inscription marks the grave of one of those lost. The vessel carried stakes from Sligo to Wales.


The 549-ton barque, Imperator, was wrecked at Lower Rosses Point, Sligo, on December 1, 1898. The Norwegian vessel was bound from Sligo to Hull with timber.


The 328-ton Swedish barque, Dwina, was wrecked in Sligo harbour in May 1896.


The 1,000 ton steamship, Olive, was driven ashore at Sligo in the gale of February 22, 1903. She carried a cargo of Indian corn for Pollexfen & Co., her owners, bound for Ballina. While moored at the Deepwater Quay, her cables parted and she was blown across the Bay and stranded high and dry on Cartron Shore. A tug was sent from the Clyde and the salvage efforts seem to have been successful.


The collier, Breezland, ran aground on the sandbars at Raughley Point on December 6, 1952. She stranded half a mile offshore and failed to free herself. A tug from the Clyde was summoned but it is not clear if she was freed.