Thursday 20 June 2019

Ullswater tragedy to be remembered 148 years later

The brig was similar to this ship
The brig was similar to this ship

Fintan Lambe

Events have been organised to commemorate The Ullswater, a 247 tonne brig which was wrecked off Ballymoney on January 11, 1868, as part of a visit to the area of a descendant of one of the crewmen who lost his life in the tragedy.

The Ullswater with eleven men on board was sailing from Liverpool to Rio de Janeiro with a general cargo when she hit the Salt Rock off Ballymoney. She was a total loss, and ten men lost their lives.

Last year, Wexford County Council was contacted by Ken McQuhae whose great-grandfather, mate James Duff, was lost with the Ullswater.

Mr McQuhae, (74), who lives in the US, asked if he could visit Ballymoney and Salt Rock to lay a wreath, and if possible, erect a plaque listing the names of those lost. He said that this would be the only reminder of them as there were no bodies to send home for burial in a marked grave.

Wexford County Council worked with him to realise his wishes and a bronze plaque provided by Mr McQuhae has been erected at Ballymoney, the closest public location to the wreck.

As part of the commemoration, all are invited to a reception and evening with author Dermot Bolger will be held at 7.30 p.m. in Gorey Civic Offices on Monday, September 12. Dermot, author of 'The Lonely Sea and Sky' will give a talk on 'The Ullswater Memorial and Seafaring Tales'.

The unveiling of the memorial takes place at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13. Those interested in attending are invited to meet at The Orphan Girl at 2.30 p.m.

After the unveiling, refreshments will be served in The Orphan Girl accompanied by sea shanties.

Dermot Bolger will also talk about his book, 'The Lonely Sea and Sky', published this summer. It tells the story of the courage of Wexford seafarers in 1943 who rescued 168 drowning German sailors in the Bay of Biscay while they were on a wartime voyage to Lisbon.

Gorey Guardian