Thursday 14 December 2017

Getting the message

David Tucker

Mark Webster and Chris Henderson on Carne Beach with their message
Mark Webster and Chris Henderson on Carne Beach with their message

A COUPLE of days before their tallship the Astrid ran aground off the Cork coast, the soon-to-be shipwrecked young crew members on the sail training vessel threw messages in bottles into the sea.

Now two have turned up on the South Wexford coast, one at Ballygrangins and the other at Nethertown, near Carne.

Anne Lawlor, from Kilmore Quay said her son Emmett and his father Chris, found the message in a bottle on the beach at Ballygrangins on August 2. It appeared to have been in the waster since July 20, four days before the Astrid

The message said was from the 30 young crew members of the Astrid, who wondered where it would turn up.

Emmett, aged 13, a student, at Bridgetown Vocational College, was delighted with his find and plans to make contact with the senders through the address of the sail training school in Holland.

Another bottle was found by Sean Hopkins, aged 15, who lives in Mulgannon.

Sean was out digging bait on the beach at Nethertown with his mother Catherine and family friends, Christopher Henderson from Dubai and Mark Webster from Dublin when the bottle washed in.

'They were just so charmed, they couldn't get the message out of the bottle for a long time and when they did they found it was from the Astrid,' said Catherine.

'They couldn't believe it, Sean is absolutely delighted with himself,' said Catherine, who showed the boys the report in the Wexford People telling of the sinking of the Astrid, on which were two Wexford youngsters, Daragh Comiskey, from Barntown, and Rose Lynch, from Gorey.

The boys have responded to the number given in the letter, but have not so far heard back.

All on board the Astrid were saved in a dramatic rescue after the ship ran aground when it lost power as it was leaving Oysterhaven.

The Astrid had a colourful 95-year history that included almost six decades working as a cargo ship, possibly being used to smuggle drugs and being restored being gutted in a major fire and abandoned

Built in the Netherlands in 1918 as a cargo ship, the vessel was transferred into Swedish ownership and worked Baltic sea trade routes until 1975.

After another sale the ship was alleged to have fallen into the hands of drug-smugglers.

She was found abandoned and burnt to a shell off the coast of England in the early 1980s. A salvage operation saved her then and she was transformed into a training vessel for young people.

Wexford People

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