Some 250 years after a boat was shipwrecked off the coast of Ireland the mystery appears to have been solved.
Shipwreck’s mystery solved after 250 years: The broken pieces of the ship are visible at low tide as the sands shift on Streedagh Strand in Co. Sligo with locals calling it the “Butter Boat.” Although it has become a well-known landmark it’s origins are unclear although it had been thought to have been part of the legendary Spanish Armada from the 16th Century however new archaeological research shows us that this theory has been disproved and the identity of the ship has now been discovered.
Researchers who have now taken samples of the timber can place the ship’s construction in the first half of the 18th Century, at some point after 1712. After further searching into historical accounts took place it showed the ship was called the Greyhound, a trading ship from Whitby port in Yorkshire and it’s owner was a Mrs Allely. It sank on the night of 12th December in 1770 and 20 people lost their lives. During a huge storm it was forced to drop anchor positioned under cliffs at Erris Head and, due to it’s perilous position, the crew were ordered to abandon ship.
It was duly discovered a cabin boy had been left on board and the crew, along with locals from nearby Broadhaven Bay, attempted to return to save him and the ship.
The rescue team managed to board it but the storm was taking it further out to sea with the cabin boy and crew members still aboard. The boat was shipwrecked later that same night at Streedagh Strand some 100kms to the east. A Mr Williams was the only survivor that night.
Malcolm Noonan, Minister of state for heritage at the Department of Housing, said he was pleased the true story of the ship had now been found. He went on to say “In particular I am struck by the value of folklore archives along with applied archaeological research in uncovering the full and tragic story of the Greyhound and those caught up in the tragedy.
Its calamitous story illustrates starkly the perils of the sea but also highlights how in times of trouble, the common bond of the sea brings people from different backgrounds together in an attempt to save lives. I am proud that my department has been able to bring to light this story of tragedy and loss but also of extraordinary bravery, compassion, selflessness and heroism.”
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