shipwrecks of Cork Harbour

Shipwrecks of the 20th Century
Date Name Event
April 1st, 1900 Dunsyre On the 1st of April 1900, the collier Dunsyre sprang a leak south of Ballycotton lighthouse. The inrush of water could not be stemmed, and within 15 minutes she had foundered.

Captain Bye and the crew of five men landed safely. The enquiry into the sinking of the Dunsyre, found that she had been overloaded by 27 tons, which sprung a plate, causing the sinking.
April 16th, 1900 Del Gratia On April 16th 1900, the collier schooner, Del Gratia, grounded east of Queenstown. She was later refloated, without damage.
December 25th , 1900 Santo/Sente On Wednesday, 26th of December, the new dredger Sente, foundered off Cork Harbour, near Power Head. She was on route from Glasgow to Formosa, when she developed a list and made a run for the harbour. She overturned however, taking 12 crew with her. The five survivors were rescued by the pilot boat Maid of Erin.
December 27th 1900 Unnamed Smack On Thursday evening, December 27th 1900, a coal-laden sailing smack was sheltering from a gale south of Rocky Island, near Haulbowline. The wind shifted and swamped her. Four of her crew sheltered in the rigging for the night, while two went to a boat and laid astern. They were all rescued by the Cambridge on Friday morning.
January 16th , 1903 Auguste On January 16th, 1903, the Danish schooner Aguste, was caught in a raging gale and swept on the rocks at Nohoval. The captain was washed overboard and drowned, but local man Denis Collins rescued all of the crew. The ship went to pieces and the captain’s body was later recovered
January 22nd,1903 Helga The British ship Helga was on route from the USA to Cork when she was caught in a gale off the Cork Coast.. The Helga was driven ashore at Ballycroneen near Power Head.

Her captain, his wife, and twenty three crew escaped in boats. Three salvage tugs attempted to tow her off but were unsuccessful. In February, seven local men were convicted of looting bags of grain from the wreck.
March 03rd , 1903 Merion On Sunday March 01st 1903, The Dominion liner Merion arrived off Cork Harbour from Boston to pick up mails. There was a south westerly gale blowing and it was too rough to transfer the mails off the harbour mouth. It was decided to move the ship in past the harbour mouth. The Merion in attempting to manoeuvre grounded on Chicago Knoll on the eastern side of the harbour.

Captain Thompson managed to get the Merion off this reef by discharging some water ballast. This combined with a rising tide helped the vessel off. The Merion did not get far as she soon grounded on another lee-shore at White Bay. This time it took 24 hours to free her with the help of two Clyde Shipping Company tugs the Flying Sportsman and the Flying Fish
November 22nd, 1903 Glengariff On November 22nd, 1903, The City of Cork Steam Packet Company ship, Glengariff, was on route from Liverpool to Cork. At 08.40hrs she struck heavily on the Hawk Rock, south of Power Head, and started to take on water.

Her captain made a run for Cork Harbour accompanied by the steamer Innisfallen, and grounded the stricken ship on the Curlane Bank. A few days later salvage crews brought her to Passage for repairs. In the enquiry, the mate’s certificate was suspended for three months.
January 18th,1904 Unnamed open boat On Monday the 18th of January 1904, a deserted open boat was picked up four miles off Power Head. On board were some provisions, a woman’s hat, shoes and stockings, as well as a baby’s cap.

The tragedy that unfolded was that a sailor named Murphy, from Crosshaven, with his wife and three children, had been on a shopping trip to Queenstown. They set off for Crosshaven at ten o’clock at night in rough seas and a strong wind and were not seen again. It was thought that the boat had capsized, and the occupants drowned. No bodies were recovered.
May 06th, 1904 HMS Northampton On the 6th of May 1904, the seagoing training ship HMS Northampton, grounded heavily on the Spit Bank in Cork Harbour. Some reports claimed it was the Curlane Bank, near Crosshaven, but this is not the case.

She had been entering Cork Harbour, when her commander, Captain Horsely, mistook a port buoy for a starboard one, and stranded his ship.

The Northampton was towed off, two days later by HMS Aeolus and HMT Stormcock. In a court-martial that month, the Captain received an official reprimand.
June 06th , 1904 Thistle On the 6th of June, 1904, the Dockyard tug Thistle, suddenly sank at Haulbowline. She had just transported 500 workmen to Haulbowline, and luckily had just crew on board. She was later raised, and found to have sprung plates due to an unknown collision.
September 30th, 1904 HMS Mars On September 30th, 1904, HMS Mars, while entering Queenstown and leading the Channel Squadron, went fast aground on the Spit Bank. Efforts to tow her off proved successful.
February 16th 1905 HMS A5 The British submarine A5, along with parent ship HMS Hazard, visited Cork in February 1905. The purpose was to demonstrate this new form of craft to visiting officers and dignitaries. The submarine was moored with HMS Hazard at the Black Prince Pier in Monkstown.

On the morning of the 16th of February an explosion rocked the A5. A short time later another explosion occurred. Six men were killed and five injured. It was thought that petrol fumes had ignited due to an electrical spark.

The graves of five of the victims can be seen in Cobh’s Clonmel Graveyard.
April 25th 1906 HMS Julia On Wednesday the 25th of April 1906 the coastguard vessel Julia was embarking coastguards at Power Head fog signal station. She drifted on to Brohogul Rock and stuck fast. The Julia was towed off by admiralty tug on Friday the 27th and taken to Haulbowline for repairs.
November 17th 1908 Fleswick On Saturday the 17th of November 1908,the Liverpool steamer Fleswick was on route to Cork. She reached Monkstown Bay, where she was in collision with the outward-bound passenger steamer Killarney.

The Fleswick sank almost immediately, with the loss of one man. Boats from the training ship HMS Emerald, managed to rescue the rest of the crew. The Fleswick was later salvaged.
April 22nd , 1911 Falls of Garry The Glasgow sailing ship Falls of Garry was on route to Queenstown from Port Pirie with a Cargo of Wheat in April 1911. When off the Irish coast she encountered fog, and was unable to plot her position. She grounded under the cliffs, outside the western side of Oysterhaven Harbour on April 22nd 1911.

Two boats were launched, one of which made Cork harbour unaided, the other was towed in by a tug. The eight men who remained on board the ship were rescued by Oysterhaven coastguards with rocket apparatus. The Falls of Garry soon was under the water and was scrapped on the spot
May 29th 1913 SS Haverford On May 29th 1913 the American Line SS Haverford grounded heavily in Rocky Bay, Cork Harbour. She was on route to Philadelphia, but in thick fog sailed too close to shore. She was towed off by tugs a day later.
May 07th 1915 Lusitania The Cunard Liner RMS Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-20, on Friday 7th of May, 1915. Lives lost amounted to 1195, of which 128 were Americans. There were 764 survivors. This shocking disaster did not bring the USA to war, but affected public opinion deeply. The USA declared war on Germany in April 1917.
August 1st 1915 Miss Evans On Sunday the first of August 1915, the schooner Miss Evans, went ashore in Rocky Bay. She was bound for Bandon with coal. She was thought likely to break up unless the weather moderated.
October 20th , 1915 Admiral (Amiral)Courbet The French steel barque Amiral Courbet went ashore at Fennels Bay attempting to leave Cork Harbour on Oct 20 1915. The destination was Albany, in Western Australia. She was being towed out in a gale, but a number of snapped hawsers, resulted in her grounding. No crew were lost, and the Amiral Courbet was scrapped where she lay.
December 28th , 1915 El Zorro The tanker El Zorro was torpedoed off the Old Head of Kinsale on the 28th of December 1915 with loss of one man. She was taken in tow in a gale by patrol boats and anchored off Cork Harbour. In transferring of crew, another crewman was lost. The ship dragged her anchors that night, went ashore at Man of War Cove, and was wrecked.
April 24th 1916 Aud/Castro/Libau   The Wilson Line ship Castro , was captured by Germany at the beginning of WW1. She was renamed the Aud , and used, in 1916, to transport arms for the Irish Easter Rising.

Under the command of Karl Spindler , she almost succeeded in her mission but was captured by British Patrols. She was scuttled on April 24th 1916, at the mouth of Cork Harbour.
February 18th, 1917 HMT Clifton The armed trawler HMT Clifton was minesweeping at the mouth of Cork Harbour on the 18th of February 1917,when she struck a mine.

There was a massive explosion, and the ship disappeared in seconds. There was only one survivor, Sub-Lieutenant James G. Clemens, RNR
March 07th, 1917 Westwick On the 6th of March 1917 the SS Westwick struck a mine off Cork Harbour. The crew abandoned ship, but it did not sink , and drifted ashore at Fish Point near Ringabella. The wreck was scrapped on the spot, but there are still some remains.
September 10th, 1917 UC-42 The German minelaying submarine UC-42, was destroyed by her own mines about September 10th 1917 off Guileen, Cork Harbour. All of her crew were lost
October 01st, 1917 Carrabin The steel four-masted barque Carribin, was torpedoed and sunk 10 miles south fo the Daunt Rock on the 1st of October 1917. The armed trawler Anthony Aslett picked up survivors and landed them at Queenstown
October 14th, 1917 East Wales The 4321ton steamship East Wales was captured and sunk by German submarine U-57, 8 miles SW of Daunt light vessel on the 14th of Oct, 1917. Three crew were killed during the shelling and armed trawlers picked up the survivors.
November 17th, 1917 U-58 The German submarine U-58 was scuttled by her crew, outside Cork Harbour, on November 17th 1917. She had been badly damaged by USS Fanning and USS Nicholson, and could not control her depth. Two men were lost during the scuttling.
November 19th, 1917 HMT Morococala On the 19th of November 1917, the armed trawler HMT Morococala was minesweeping outside Cork Harbour when a mine exploded, sinking her almost immediately. The entire crew of 13 were killed in the sinking.
April 08th, 1918 HMT Lord Hardinge At midnight, on the 08th of April 1918,the armed trawler Lord Hardinge (AT2993) collided with the armed trawler James Johnson and sank, two miles off the Daunt Rock Light vessel.

There were no casualties and the survivors were landed in Queenstown by the James Johnson
December 07th, 1920 CHC cutter Star of the Sea On the morning of Sunday Dec 5th 1920 the British oil tank steamer Petrella, bound for Cork, ran down and sank the Cork Habour Commissioners pilot cutter Star of the Sea. The accident occurred about two miles south of Roches Point, at the entrance to the Harbour. The crew of six from the cutter were saved.
December 07th , 1920 HMS Douglas The destroyer HMS Douglas was moored as guardship in Queenstown, when she was run into by a steam collier which struck her amidships. The destroyer was taken into Haulbowline Dockyard for repairs.
May 03rd , 1921 HMS Eglantine (Sloop)
HMS Convulvulus (sloop)
HMS Silene (Sloop)
HMS Cicero (Sloop)
HMT Ard Patrick ( Mersey Class, Naval Trawler)
There was a glut of surplus warships, post-WW1. These four sloops , were among sixty of that type, being sold off from the Royal Navy. The Ard Patrick was an Admiralty trawler, also for sale.

Some ships had actually been sold, when Republican forces decided to attack them at Caririgaloe, near Cobh. Armed men overpowered the civilian caretakers, and opened the seacocks on the vessels.

The results were reported as ‘one vessel leaned heavily to port while another settled on the riverbed’ All vessels were sold by the end of the year.
June 03rd, 1921 HMS Trenchant The R-Class destroyer, Trenchant, was undergoing refit at Haulbowline dockyard in June 1921. Republican forces attacked, it by placing explosives on board. The detonation only did slight damage, but closed the dockyard until the 15th of June. The Trenchant was sent to Devonport to complete her refit..
February 7th 1923 Slievenamon During the Irish Civil War, a number of merchant ships were chartered by the Free State forces, as suppy and patrol vessels. One of these, the Slievenamon, dagged her anchors in a gale on the 7th of February 1923.

She was driven ashore on the north side of Ballycotton Bay. Her crew were rescued with difficulty, by Ballycotton lifeboat. The damaged ship was refloated on the 12th of February and towed to Passage for repairs
December 13th, 1924 Toni The German barque Toni, was being towed upriver to Cork, on December 13th 1924, when she suddenly sheered to starboard, opposite Blackrock Castle. She grounded heavily on the north shore of the river Lee, and remained, until towed off a day later.
February 27th, 1925 Montlaurier On Saturday, 21st of February 1925, The Canadian Pacific liner Montlaurier, left Liverpool for St John, Newfoundland. She hit heavy gales off southwest Ireland, and suffered steering failure. The Captain sent out an SOS, but managed to rig jury-steering before the ocean-going tug Zwarte Zee reached her.

The Montlaurier limped towards Cork Harbour. On the 27th the Montlaurier approached Cork, but the steering again failed at the harbour entrance. The Montlaurier grounded heavily on Chicago Knoll, at the eastern side of the harbour.

The ship refloated later that day, and a few days later was towed to Liverpool for repairs.
December 31st, 1928 Jenny On Saturday, 31st of December, 1927, the Jenny, from Liverpool to Kinsale, with a cargo of coal, was run ashore at Fountainstown, in Cork Harbor. She had sustained a lot of damage in a gale, mid-channel, and had made a desperate run ashore. She was towed off by the tug Morsecock, and brought to Passage for repairs.
October 22nd, 1928 Alison On the 22nd of October 1928, the coaster Alison, was proceeding up river to Cork. Coming against the Alison, was the coaster Zillah. Signals were exchanged, but due to some error, both collided opposite the yacht club in Cobh.

The crew of the Alison jumped on board the Zillah, as the Alison began to settle. Local tugs towed the sinking Alison clear of Cork Harbour channels, to the Spit bank. She was later raised and repaired.
October 12th, 1928 Celtic The elderly White Star liner Celtic, grounded on the Cow and Calf rocks at Roches Point on October 12th 1928. She stuck fast and all passengers and crew were evacuated. The Celtic was scrapped where she lay.
March 26th, 1932 Macaw On the 26th of March 1932, the trawler Macaw while sheltering from a gale, had her anchor cable part, and went ashore between Garryvoe and Ballycotton. The salvage tug Rodenzee managed to recover her on the 6th of April and she returned to her port of Milford Haven
March 1936 Daunt Rock Lightship On February 11th 1936, in a heavy gale, the Daunt Rock Lightship broke free from its moorings and started drifting. In one of the most protracted rescues in lifeboat history, the Ballycotton lifeboat managed to rescue all the crew.

The lifeboat was on service for 63 hours and the crew were awarded two silver and four bronze medals by the RNLI.
November 22nd, 1941 Port Control Examination Boat On Saturday November 22nd 1941 The six man crew of the Port Control examination boat had a lucky escape. Their boat lost power and drifted ashore at Graball Bay, on the western side of the harbour.

The men managed to scramble to safety, but the boat was dashed to pieces in the heavy seas running.
December 12th, 1942 Examination Boat No3
Pilot Boat
On the night of December 12th 1942, The Irish Popular was making her way, in a southerly gale, for Rushbrook. Wartime regulations meant that she had to be boarded by not only the pilot, but the Marine Service, for examination purposes.

The pilot, and one member of the Marine Service boarded the Irish Popular. Shortly after this the pilot boat and the examination boat, got caught in the turning propellers of the ship and were destroyed.

Five members of the Marine Service lost their lives. The pilot boat helmsman managed to swim to Spike Island to raise the alarm. Those lost were William Duggan, Frank Lloyd, Frank Powell, Patrick Wilshaw and John Higgins.
November 02nd, 1957 Neptunia The Greek liner Neptunia (10,519tons) struck the Daunt Rock outside Cork Harbour on Saturday the 2nd of November 1957. She had a crew of 205 and 31 passengers.

The Neptunia was beached on the Curlane bank in Cork harbour where the passengers were disembarked.

The salvage of the ship was, fairly rudimentary as the Neptunia had reached the end of her useful working life. Concrete was poured into the damaged section to form a rough seal. When this was completed the Neptunia was towed to Holland for scrapping.
January 28th, 1993 Star Immaculate On the 28th of January 1993,the trawler Star Immaculate,grounded on the Cow and Calf rocks at Roches Point. Her crew escaped but she was stuck fast. It was decided to refloat the hull and scuttle it. This was done, in approx 19m of water, south of Roches Point.