A TALE of the SEA

The ship IRELAND, of Liverpool

Crew and ship saved by the combined efforts of five vessels and Abersoch lifeboat.


The Liverpool ship IRELAND was bound home from Rangoon, Burma, with a cargo of cotton and rice when she was struck by a storm and lost her foremast, topsail yards and t'gallant yards. She also had eight feet of water in the holds, was unmanageable, and in danger of sinking.

She was found on 1 January 1872 ten miles off The Smalls (off the Pembrokeshire coast) by the S.S. CORMORANT, of Cork, which was bound for Bristol. Capt Croft of the Cormorant hove to and sent a boat off to her manned by his chief officer, J.H.Miller, and three men. They took off seven men. Then the brig ALTAIR, from Prince Edward Island bound for Cardiff, chanced on the scene and took off the remaining ten members of the crew. The IRELAND was left a derelict. The RNLI awarded the Thanks of the Institution to Capt Croft, £3 to J.H. Miller, and £2 to each of the three men who accompanied him.

The following day the S.S. BRITON bound from Wexford to Bristol fell in with the ship. Some of her crew also boarded the derelict. Failing to take her in tow they saved two chronometers and left the vessel to the wind and sea.

Then on 3 January the S.S. EGRET, of Cork, bound from Glasgow for Antwerp, found the ship twenty miles north east of The Smalls. The mate and six men boarded the derelict and found her sails in tatters except for the spanker which was set. A hawser was attached and the Egret took her in tow but the hawser parted. Another attempt was made but this too failed. The Egret's carpenter and a seaman volunteered to remain aboard, but the mate and four returned to the steamer. The Egret stood by overnight but at dawn there was no sign of the IRELAND so she proceeded on her voyage to Antwerp.

Then on 5 January a dismasted ship was seen between Pencilan (Trwyn Cilan) on Llyn and the western end of St Patrick's Causeway. Abersoch lifeboat Mabel Louisa was launched and found the  IRELAND  with the carpenter and seaman of the Egret safely aboard. The S.S. REBECCA took the ship in tow and took her to a safe anchorage at St Tudwal's. The two men from the Egret were landed and made their way to Liverpool. Rev. Owen Lloyd Williams, who was the Honorary Secretary of both the Abersoch station and that at Porthdinllaen on the other side of the Llyn peninsula, went out on this call.