Co. Wexford Wreck List "D"
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© Brian Corry

All rights respectfully acknowledged


© Brian Corry

All rights respectfully acknowledged


Below is an account by a local farmers son, written soon after the wreck.

THE WRECK OF THE "CIRILO AMORES".

Personal Recollections.

On the morning of Feb. 15th 1925 I was awakened by an excited shout from my father:- get up quick. There's a ship ashore in Ballyvooney. I was not quite ten years old at the time.

I jumped out of bed, dressed quickly and mounted the fence that then bounded the yard. From there I could see a steamship standing upright with her bow to the cliff at the point known as the Arch. Nicky Hickey who worked in Knockrour, then arrived. Ship or no ship, certain work had to be done so Nicky and my mother started the milking. I shot down to Ballyvooney.

My father had gone ahead and had made signs to the captain to launch one of the life boats but the captain replied through a megaphone that a boat would be smashed against the ship side and indicated that he intended throwing out a lifebuoy to which a line was attached. This he did and the buoy floated towards the shore. My father waded out and retrieved it - not without difficulty as there was a strong undertow on the shelving gravely bottom and only by bracing his feet against a low rock was he able to maintain himself.

I arrived at this stage and saw the ship was named "Cirilo Amores" which we later discovered meant 'The Loving Girl'. She flew two flags which I later learned were the Spanish National colours and the international distress signal. We also learned afterwards that she was owned by the Transmediterranean Co. of Barcelona and on her way to Liverpool with general cargo.

Jack O'Keefe was on his way to work in Ballyvooney and returned to Stradbally to notify the Guards. My father dispatched me to alert Ballyvooney and gather help. Jim Power was milking but left the finishing of the Job to Bridgie and rushed down. I notified the other families - Tommy Halley, Jim Cummins, the Norrisses and Christophers. When I got back to the cove the line had been followed by a heavier cable which was hauled to the cliff-top and made fast to the fencing stakes. A breeches buoy was rigged up and a sailor came ashore using a lump of tallow to grease the cable as he came.

The rest of the crew followed, and then hampers made of wire netting containing supplies and the sailors' effects were hauled up. The rescued mariners were understandably emotional after their harrowing experience. They had been drifting before a buffeting storm and grounded on what must have appeared a terrifyingly bleak and inhospitable coast. From where they were they would have seen no sign of human habitation except for the lighthouses on Hook and Mine heads.

Flagons of wine were opened and fruit and cigarettes passed round. So freely did the locals partake that one had to be conveyed home stretched out on a donkey cart. He was unaware that during the excitement his wife had given birth to a daughter. A day to remember!

At low tide it could be seen that the ship was firmly wedged between the cliff and a rock. To this fact the crew owed their lives: but how she came to arrive in that particular position has never been established.

After the rescue had been completed a rocket team from Bonmahon and the Helvick life boat arrived but their services were not required. The crew were accommodated in the local pubs and in private houses. During their stay fiesta reigned with music Spanish dancing and free wine nightly. Only one member of the local community was able to communicate in the sailor's native tongue. He was a sailor who had learned Spanish in South America.

The cargo consisting of oranges, onions, tinned tomatoes, almonds, ground nuts, rice, resin, and wine was bought from the insurers by Messrs. Shipsey and Mekee of Dunmore East. It was slung ashore on a wire cable strung from the mast and anchored inland. It was drawn to the village by horse and cart, an activity which provided handy money for local farmers and which they eagerly awaited. Damaged cases of oranges and onions were dumped overboard and during the following summer beaches within miles of Ballyvooney had their first taste of pollution. The rice cargo was unfit for human consumption due to flooding in the hold but made excellent pigfeed. The bunker coal and the woodwork were sold to local buyers. And the hull to Eastwoods of Belfast who gave us the, then extraordinary, sight of oxy-acetylene torches cutting through half inch steel plate as if it had been butter.

A court of inquiry into the loss of the ship was subsequently held by the Dept. of Industry & Commerce in Dublin but I am not aware of its findings. Though still known as 'The Spanish Ship' she was in fact Scottish having been built in Greenock on the Clyde.

W. O'Brien


Co. Wexford Wreck List "D"

Last update - 06-Aug-2006

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