Superstition and a Shipwreck

Superstition and a Shipwreck

31st March 1852

The people on the island of Inisboffin, off the coast of Ireland, were very superstitious. These superstitions have pagan origins and are still believed by older members of the island. Here are some of the superstitions. When a fisherman was going fishing and he met a red-haired woman, he would bless himself, and would not go fishing as this was a bad sign of things to come. Another one was that, if a boat or ship had sunk and the crew were drowning, another boat passing and seeing them had to leave them to drown. If they saved them they thought they would be next to die.

What would be their comments on this shipwreck in 1852 ?. "I told you so ?"

Shipwreck, 15 Lives Lost.

On the morning of the 23rd.inst., the ship ‘Emma’ of London, 450 tons register, from Honduras to Queenstown for orders with a valuable cargo of mahogany, logwood etc. struck on a sunken rock a little to the east of Fileareel Bay, Dunworly and instantly became a total wreck, when melancholy to relate, 15 out of the 18 hands on board met with a watery grave. It seems from what can be gathered from the survivors that there was a headwind at an early hour that morning, which compelled them to tack, and a dense fog prevailing at the same time prevented them seeing where they were, until the vessel with the weight of 800 tons cargo thumped with dreadful violence, and they speedily went to pieces. As soon as the crew perceived their danger they all ran on deck, and were all collected on the poop, when a terrific sea caught the vessel and broke her right amid-ships at the same time capsizing the poop and its living freight into the surge.

After being knocked about amidst the heavy baulks of mahogany , and the furious seas, three poor dripping half-naked and sorely bruised sailors made their way to a rock from which they were cast back three or four times by the angry waves, but at last they succeeded in holding on. In one instance a poor fellow had to catch the moss with his teeth until assistance was procured, which was speedily rendered by Messrs Hawkes, Leary and Tresilian of Dunworly, whose intimate knowledge of the coast rendered their proffered aid invaluable. The Coast Guards from the Fileareel station were also promptly on the spot, and by means of hawsers etc. the poor survivors were quickly rescued from their perilous position. The vessel was completely smashed and her valuable cargo strewn over the water; but I am happy to say a great deal of the mahogany, 97 balks, has been saved and is now being salvaged on Dunworly strand.

Amongst many afflicting incidents connected with this melancholy catastrophe, one is particularly remarkable. Whilst beating out of the Bay of Honduras, some of the crew discovered something which excited their attention in the water; having put out a boat, they discovered much to their amazement, a poor sailor lashed to a plank: they quickly put him on board and having applied restoratives they soon had the satisfaction of seeing him recover. His story was a short one- he had been shipwrecked and lashed himself to a plank in the hope of escaping a watery grave; he did escape, but to meet a more fatal one on the iron-bound coast of the south of Ireland. (Cork Examiner)

Reference; Saunders News-Letter 31st.March 1852.

1 Comment · 5611 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on April 29 2007


#1 | Ladybird on 10/08/2011 00:46:19
Any record of the names of the survivors of shipwreck Emma 1852

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