Shipwrecks on our Shores

By John C. McTernan

January 1783

Sloop Tom wrecked in Port during a violent storm as she awaited to embark new Royal Navy recruits.

March 1820

Vessel Friends of Sligo, bound for Greenock, went aground at Deadman's Point on March 10th, carrying goods for William Middleton, James Henry, Messrs. Freeland and Charles

Anderson. A number of people were subsequently charged at Sligo Assizes for interference with the wreck.

November 1832

The schooner Superb from Glasgow ran aground in a gale at Deadman's Point and was severely damaged. Nine hundred pounds worth of cargo saved.

February 1843

Schooner Tampico wrecked in the bay on February 5th. Four of the crew were drowned but the Master, Captain Gregg and two others were rescued. Subsequently a subscription list was opened for dependant relatives of those lost and for assistance to the survivors.

February 1853

The l7O ton Tolagazone carrying Indian corn for Robert Culbertson of Sligo and Ballisodare wrecked on the Bomore Rocks off Inishmurray. Captain and crew rescued by the Mullaghmore Coastguard.

January 1856

Schooner Delta from Liverpool, Gillen-Master, carrying general cargo, went aground at Seal Rock and became a total wreck. Crew rescued with difficulty.

December 1858

Iron paddle steamer Thistle was returning to Sligo from Glasgow when she ran aground on Bird Rock in a gale and was wrecked.

March 1859

The 150-ton rigged yacht Fancy, the property of the Marquis of Drogheda. wrecked on the Bungar Bank as she entered the Harbour.

December 1859

Austrian brig Naslieduk laden with Indian corn for Messrs. Middleton & Pollexfen wrecked on the Bungar Bank

July 1867

Paddle-Steamer Rose while returning to port after her engines failed, hit a rock at Ardboline Island before running aground on Horse Island. Ten of her passengers were drowned when rescue craft overturned on their way to the mainland.

October 1869

Ship Marianopolis with a cargo of 800 tons of Indian corn, valued at 1,200 pounds, for Messrs. Middleton and Pollexfen, ran aground at Rosses Point on her way to berth at Oyster Island. She was being towed by the tug Hope and when passing between Elsinore and the Island, damaged her keel, filled with water and became a total wreck.

September 1883

The 380-ton Norwegian barque Susannie docked at the Ballast Quay in August, laden with a cargo of deals from St John, New Brunswick. As the timber was being unloaded it was noticed that it had been acted upon by salt water, suggesting that the vessel was not watertight. The cargo discharged, the Captain considered some overhauling desirable. The Susannie was accordingly removed to the Custom House Quay where she was listed and one side examined. As they proceeded to list her on the other side the keel and several ribs gave way and the water rushed in - rendering the barque a total wreck. There she lay on beam end, dismantled and dismasted, an unusual and sad ending after three decades plying the ocean waves. In April 1884, the Harbour Board advertised for tenders for the removal of the hull from the bed of the River at the Custom House Quay.

November 1886

The Norwegian barque Naryana on a voyage from the St. Lawrence to Ayr with a cargo of deals put in to Sligo Harbour for shelter in a severe gale. During the night she broke anchor and was driven onto rocks on the west side of Coney island and broke up. Her Captain and crew jumped into the sea and were rescued. A small cannon from the wreck can still be viewed on the Island, while a wooden nameplate from one of her lifeboats can be seen on the bar counter in Austies in Rosses Point.

August 1897

On the morning of August 10th 1897, the 1,419-ton British tramp steamer Jusbin, James Tweddle, Master, approached Sligo Bay on a wrong course and stuck fast on the Wheaten Rock, near Raughley, at 2.35am. She was carrying a cargo of grain from Philadelphia and sustained bottom damage to her fore peak and ballast tanks numbers one to four, which commenced to fill. Fortunately her bilges and cargo holds remained dry. Five hundred and forty tons of her cargo was taken off by lighters and the tug Olive. The small steamer Swift managed to tow her clear on the evening tide on the 12th and brought her up river to Sligo Quays where she berthed at 6.20pm.

February 1912

The SS Sligo ran aground on Ardboline Island, off Raughley, in a storm. She was returning from Garston with a cargo of coal. Her crew of thirteen, including Captain James Devaney, scrambled ashore on the Island at low water by means of ladders from the foredeck. Due to the weather conditions their plight went unnoticed until the following morning when they were rescued by members of the Raughley Coast Guard. At that stage the steamer had slipped astern of the Island and was partly submerged in deep water. With the roads partially blocked by snowdrifts, the crew of the ill-fated Sligo set out on foot on the long trek to Sligo and Rosses Point. Captain Devaney never went to sea again and died a few years later a broken man.

February 1925

A Greek steamer, the 331 ft long Diamantis Pateras, drawing 20.5 ft, arrived at the entrance to the Harbour on February 25th, 1925, with a cargo of 5,000 tons of maize for Messrs W & GT Pollexfen Ltd., from the River Plate. She came too late for the morning tide and, owing to a severe gale which had sprung up during the day, it was considered inadvisable to bring her up on the evening tide. Early the following morning as she was making her way up the winding but unlit channel to the Quays, in charge of an experienced pilot, Redmond Bruen, a sudden snowstorm blotted out visibility. As the Diamantis Pateras approached the Seal Bank's northern tip off Balincar, the Pilot temporarily lost sight of his marks; she veered too far south and stuck fast amidships on a sandbank with deep water under her fore and aft parts. When the tide ebbed her hull was unable to take the strain and she split in two. At a subsequent inquiry the Pilot was exonerated from all blame. The cargo was removed into lighters brought alongside, after which a Belfast salvage company removed the wreck onto the beach at Ballincar where it was broken up and sold.