WRECK of the THETIS on CARDIGAN BAR

6 February 1850

 

The vessel Thetis, of Limerick, was of nearly 300 tons register. Some sources say she was a brig others a barque.

She loaded a cargo of coal and some wooden hoops at Newport, Monmouthshire and was bound for an Irish port though whether it was Limerick or not I do not know.

John Donahoe was the master and he had a crew of eleven.

A bad gale struck Britain on Tuesday 5 February 1850. The Thetis was in the Irish sea and by two o'clock on Wednesday morning she had lost every inch of her canvas. Masters of ships were of the opinion afterwards that the storm was the worst for six years.

At about nine o'clock that morning she was driven onto Cardigan bar. It was then low water but the sea condition was awful. A lifeboat had been stationed at Cardigan only the year before. It was manned by men from St Dogmaels which is on the Pembrokeshire side of the Teifi river - the town of Cardigan being up river from the sea and on the north side of the river.

The lifeboat was launched and got near the wreck of the Thetis but the sea was running with fearful violence and drove the boat back to the shore. Another crew took over and the same thing happened to them. A third crew now took over and as they got near to the Thetis a huge sea struck the wreck and swept every member of its crew into the sea. The master and two of his crew were driven onto the shore. The lifeboat and its crew came ashore exhausted but unhurt.

The men who were washed ashore were the master Capt John Donahoe, and seamen John Peter Gilbert and John Hayes. Capt Donahoe and seaman Gilbert soon recovered but John Hayes was injured and died. The other nine members of the crew were drowned. They were: Michael Hickey - the mate

                  Dennis O'Keefe  - cook

                 John Smith - seaman

                 Cornelius Dempsey - seaman

                Timothy O'Keefe - seaman

                John Fleming   - seaman

               Timothy Beard  - seaman

              John Stack  - apprentice

              Michael Garvey   - apprentice