The Irish coast is known for being treacherous to both ship and man alike. However, it is also rich in maritime history. Here are ten shipwrecks you can find dotted around the Irish coast, some at rest in their sea graves, some visible in their full glory just off the wild Irish coast!
1. The Empire Heritage, Malin Head, Co. Donegal
This WW2 steam tanker can be viewed just off the coast of Malin Head, Co Donegal. A British steam tanker built in 1930, it was first used as a whale factory shop in South Africa. While travelling to New York from Liverpool with a cargo of war supplies, the steam tanker was attacked and torpedoed in 1944 by German submarine U-482 and it sank, resulting in the loss of 113 lives. The wreck itself is 70 metres underwater and experienced divers can swim right up close to the tanker in its watery grave.
2. SS Justicia, Malin Head, Co. Donegal
Built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, this former British troopship was torpedoed by German U-boats six times before rolling on to her starboard side and sinking. The troopship hadn’t been carrying any cargo at the time of the attacks. The vessel belonged to the White Star Line, the same company as the ill-fated Titanic and is located 45km off the coast of Malin Head, Co Donegal.
3. The Lusitania, Kinsale, Co. Cork
One of the more famous shipwrecks in this list, the sinking of this British ocean liner in 1915 resulted in the loss of a staggering 1,100 individuals including passengers and crew. Among the fatalities were 120 Americans and the sinking of this ship supposedly provoked the United States into joining World War I. The ship sank just off the coast of County Cork near the Old Head of Kinsale.
4. The MV Plassy, Inisheer, Co. Galway
This ship can be located on the shores of Inis Oirr, the smaller of the three Aran Islands in the west of Ireland. The trawler got caught in a fierce storm in 1960, but all the crew survived as they were rescued by the cleverly named Inisheer Rocket Crew! The crew then headed to the local pub on the island and drank themselves silly. You can see this shipwreck in the opening credits of the much-loved Irish TV show Father Ted!
5. SS Gairsoppa, Co. Galway
Named after waterfalls in south-west India, the British steamship met its doom by yes – you guessed it – a German U-Boat intent on destroying everything in its path. Some of her most valuable cargo was a large quantity of silver. In 2013, a US deep-sea exploration company recovered a huge 48 tonnes of silver from the shipwreck where it lies, 480 kilometres from the coast of Galway.