Treatment of Emigrants

Treatment of emigrants.

‘Countess of Arran’  1842.

In January 1842 an emigrant ship limped into Aranmore Roads. The ‘Countess of Arran’ had been seven weeks at sea in mid-winter on her voyage from Liverpool to New York. Damaged and short of provisions, she turned back, finally being driven ashore first on Rutland and then on Duck Island. Fortunately the rising tide floated her again and she was brought alongside the “Union Store” one of the warehouses by Rutland quay. The Coastguards stated that they had never seen a more horrible sight than the condition of the passengers. Most were from the Manchester area but there were two Irish orphans, girls aged 13 and 14, from near Longford. Mr. Mitchell, Chief Officer of the Coastguards, rose magnificently to the crisis, filling his house – despite his own large family – and accommodating and feeding many more in the Watch House.


The blame for the sorry affair was squarely apportioned to Captain Eakin, incompetence personified, a former shore employee of the owner and incapable of correct navigation. After much bureaucratic stalling, for no relevant fund existed, £30 was allocated by Dublin Castle for relief, £3 going to reimburse Mr. Mitchell. Many of the unfortunates were returned via Derry to their English homes they had thought never to see again. As for the orphan sisters they were looked after by a Coastguard and happily, returned home safely with the aid of their Parish priest.

Reference; ‘Donegal Shipwrecks’ by Ian Wilson.

0 Comments · 6633 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on May 06 2007


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