Ship Wrecks in Killala Bay, Lacken in Co. Mayo

Black Eyed Susan

The Black Eyed Susan, carrying flour from Santander, Spain, was wrecked in 1879 at Killala Bay. The cargo was salvaged by the tug Maid of the Moy.


The Arcania, whose cargo was guano, was wrecked at Ross coastguard station in 1879.


The 295-ton London steamer Thames, en route from London to Sligo with guano, struck St. Patrick's rock off Kilcummin Head in fog on 5th March 1893. The ship, which was built in 1860, backed off into deeper water and sank. The crew of 12 were all saved. Castlebar SAC discovered the wreck on 14th September 1984 in 13 fathoms at St. Patrick's Rock.

Maid of the Moy

On 23rd September 1860, Victor Coates of Belfast built this 37-ton wooden tug. A by-law, passed in 1866 or 1867, allowed her to trade with other ports. In 1837, she towed a barge from Essex Quay to Ballina. This barge spent her last years on a mud bank at the Quay in Ballina. A new Maid, ten feet longer with a steel hull, was built at Glasgow. The engine from the old Maid was transferred to the new hull and the old hull towed home. She worked in the Moy and on runs to Belmullet and Sligo. On a stormy night in 1899, she dragged her anchor and was wrecked at Porturlin.


In 1901, The Eureka ran aground and disappeared, in two days, in quicksand at West Bartra.


The Sine, a 140-foot, 500-ton, three masted barque of Marsdal, Sweden sank on 6th December 1927. She was carrying a cargo of timber from South America for Becketts of Ballina and had anchored in shallow water off Ross. She was driven onto Killala Bank off Bartra in a northerly storm when her anchor cables broke. A party of locals and Gardai, led by Sean Kelly, rescued Captain Christofferson and a crew of seven. They launched a 14-foot boat, which had to be plugged by sods of turf, and when they reached Bartra Island, they waded out with lanterns and managed to float a lifebouy to the ship. The crew was brought ashore by a rope and the cargo of timber was saved. The wreck is still visible.

Lady Washington

The Lady Washington was wrecked on Bartra about 1867 at the same place as the Sine in 1927.

Killala Wrecks

In the great gale of 12th January 1839, four vessels were wrecked at Killala. Andrew Burke of Ross, saved their crews.

Ballina Wreck

Prior to the famine, a vessel whose cargo was timber, was holed during a storm. On the approach to Ballina, she struck on the Carraig Baite. A body recovered from the sea was buried at Teampail na Croise near Beal an Murtid.

Teresina Stinga

On 11th September 1887, The Teresina Stinga, an Italian barque, went ashore and was lost at Lacken Bay. She was bound for Buenos Aries from Leith with a cargo of coal.

East Indiaman

About 1709, a large East India ship with a rich cargo, was lost attempting to enter Killala Bay. The ship struck the sandbar at the mouth of the river.

Earl of Caithness

During the big wind on 6th January 1839, The Earl of Caithness was at anchor in Killala Bay. When the wind struck, the crew lashed themselves to the ship. The vessel capsized, spilling her cargo of salt. Locals observing the crews plight, launched a boat and rescued the five crewmen.


In the same storm, The Wellington, with a cargo of barley and oats bound for Belfast, was blown from her anchorage in Killala Bay and driven on rocks. The crew was able to walk ashore.


In 1835, The Union, bound from Ballina to London, was wrecked on the Moy bar.


The Draper, which was bound for Sligo from St. Andrews, New Brunswick, stranded near Killala on 6th November 1818.

Lady Mackenzie

The 92-ton Lady Mackenzie was lost near Ballina in 1829.


The 64-ton schooner Shepherd, with a cargo of oats, was lost at Killala Bay on 18th December 1854. All five aboard were lost.


The steamer Unity was wrecked at the Moy bar, Killala on the 17th September 1848. She had just left Sligo.


The 250-ton brig Nono was lost at Gubban sand on 20th November 1850. She was en route from Constantinople to Ballina.

Elizabeth and Anne

The 132-ton schooner Elizabeth and Anne, carrying bog ore from Ballina to London, was wrecked at Bartra Island on 10th January 1887.


In 1940, local fishermen rescued 16 sailors from a lifeboat in Killala Bay. These sailors were on the Carton, which was torpedoed 70 miles northwest of Ireland.

Lacken Bay

On the 28th October 1927, nine lives were lost in Lacken Bay, not too far away from Lacken Pier. Nine 26ft boats were out fishing herring when the sky got very dark and a storm arose. These fishermen could not see or hear each other from the roaring of the wind. They just rowed in what they thought was the direction of the pier. Some boats were lucky and made it to the pier, others were not so lucky and were driven out to the rocks. Local fishermen call this the night of the disaster.

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