1838. Wreck of the Killarney Steamer


Wreck of the Killarney Steamer

We have been favoured through the politeness of J. Dombrain, Esq., Inspector General of Coast Guard, with the following copy of the local inspectors report, in reference to the above melancholy catastrophe:- ,

Kinsale, 22d January, 1838. Sir – It is with extreme regret that I have to report the total wreck of the Killarney steamer, on this coast , on the west side of Flat Head, which took place on the evening of the 20th, blowing a gale from the S.E. Hearing at 6 p.m. yesterday, on my arrival home from a wreck at Old Head, that 17 poor souls were alone on a rock under the cliffs on the west side of Flat Head, I immediately proceeded in that direction, taking with me hawsers and small rope, which I procured in this town, ordering the life apparatus to follow me from Old Head, and arrived at Potoral, at 11 last night, but from the violence of the storm that again commenced, I found it impossible to render them any assistance till daylight, and at 7 this morning I proceeded to the spot, and found that 14 persons out of the 17 were still alive. The howitzer having failed twice to reach them, I passed the end of a line to the extremities of Flat Head and the promontory to the westward, tying weights in the centre of the line to prevent its being so affected by the wind as to cause the bight not plumbing the rock. I soon had the satisfaction of finding that this plan perfectly answered my expectations. The poor fellows making the centre fast to the rock, I brought one end into the cliff exactly opposite, which enabled me to send out a hawser, refreshments etc. and by running a cot with iron grummets along the hawser, we were enabled in a short space of time, to bring on shore, without the least injury, at 1 h, 30m, p.m. the whole that remained alive on the rock (fourteen persons) one of whom died shortly after – the rest are all doing well. It is with heartfelt gratification that I find among those so rescued was poor Captain Bailey, and his first and second mate, the former, a very fine fellow, who did most of the work and remained the last on the rock ; one poor female, a passenger, was saved, also a German Count (Smolensky) and a young man, about 17, a Mr. Foster, from Cork; the remainder were seamen. I understand that about twenty-five persons have perished – three were left dead on the rock, three perished trying to reach the shore yesterday and the rest when she struck. I cannot conclude, without stating that in the performance of this service I met with every assistance from Lieutenant Charlesson, Chief Officer, of Oyster Haven, Mr. Hull, of Robert’s Cove, and the coast guard under them; the exertions of the former were unremitting from noon yesterday, until all were safe. The Killarney sailed from Cork on Friday evening last, laden with pigs etc., for Bristol, with which the whole coast is strewed.

I have the honor to be, &,&. (Signed) J.Irwin.
(to) J.Dombrain, Esq., Inspector General, Coastguard

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