Top 10 famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast

Find your sense of adventure and discover these breathtaking famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast.

Find your sense of adventure and discover these breath-taking famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast.

The Irish coast is known for being treacherous to both ship and man alike. However, it is also rich in maritime history.

These maritime graveyards are spilling with secrets from the past that are just waiting to be discovered.

Curious to learn more? Here are ten famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast that you need to see.

10. The Empire Heritage – Malin Head, Co. Donegal

The Empire Heritage is one of the most famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast.
Credit: wallpapercave.com

This WW2 steam tanker was built in 1930, and 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. It sank, resulting in the loss of 113 lives.

The wreck is 230 ft (70 m) underwater, meaning experienced divers can swim up close to the tanker in its watery grave.

Address: Malin Head, Cionn Mhálanna, Ardmalin, Co. Donegal

9. 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 onto her starboard side and sinking.
Credit: Facebook / @SSIleDeFrance

Built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, this former British troopship was torpedoed by German U-boats six times before rolling onto her starboard side and sinking.

The vessel belonged to the White Star Line, the same company as the ill-fated Titanic. Now, it is located 45 km (28 miles) off the coast of Malin Head, County Donegal.

Address: Malin Head, Cionn Mhálanna, Ardmalin, Co. Donegal

8. The Lusitania – Kinsale, Co. Cork

The Lusitania is one of the most famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast.
Credit: france24.com

One of the more famous shipwrecks off the Irish Coast, the sinking of this British ocean liner in 1915 resulted in the loss of a staggering 1,100 passengers and crew, including 120 Americans.

The sinking of this ship supposedly provoked the United States into joining World War I.

Address: Downmacpatrick, Co. Cork, Ireland

7. 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.
Credit: visitgalway.ie

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 the cleverly named Inisheer Rocket Crew rescued them. 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.

Address: Inisheer, Inis Oírr, Co. Galway, Ireland

6. SS Gairsoppa – Co. Galway

The SS Gairsoppa is one of the most famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast.
Credit: shipwreck.net

Next on our list of the ten most famous shipwrecks off the Irish Coast is the beloved SS Gairsoppa.

Named after waterfalls in southwest India, the British steamship met its doom by – yes, you guessed it – a German U-Boat.

In 2013, a US deep-sea exploration company recovered a massive 48 tonnes of silver from the shipwreck where it lies, 480 km (298 miles) from the coast of Galway.

Address: Galway Coast, Ireland

5. The Edmond – Kilkee Bay, Co. Clare

This speedy vessel engaged in a violent battle against the storms of the Atlantic Ocean and lost.
Credit: wikimedia.commons.org

This speedy vessel engaged in a violent battle against the storms of the Atlantic Ocean and lost, losing two of its masts and was forced into Kilkee Bay by the wind.

The ship broke in two, and many lives were lost when the ship hit the rocks at what was then called the ‘Churn Hole’. The beach was strewn with the wreckage of the ship and the bodies of the victims.

Three coastguards, James McCarthy, Timothy Hannigan, and Patrick Shannon, received silver medals in 1851 for their valiant efforts to attend to the passengers on board.

Address: Co. Clare, Ireland

4. SS Chirripo – Belfast Lough, Co. Antrim

SS Chirripo is one of the most famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast.
Credit: wise-geek.com

In 1917, this cargo liner struck a mine left by UC-75, a German U-boat. It sank southeast of Black Head Lighthouse, Belfast Lough.

In 2015, Ulster University produced high-quality scans of the shipwreck, showing the sunken vessel lying on its side on the seabed.

Address: Belfast Lough, Co. Antrim

3. RMS Leinster – Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

The Royal Mail Steamer Leinster was torpedoed in 1918 just off the shore of Dun Laoghaire by a German submarine.
Credit: artuk.org

The Royal Mail Steamer Leinster was torpedoed in 1918 just off the shore of Dun Laoghaire by a German submarine.

The mail boat had been heading to Holyhead when U-Boat UB-123 hit her three times. The U-Boat itself hit a mine itself while returning to Germany, and all on board perished.

The RMS Leinster’s incredible history makes it one of the most famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast.

Address: Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland

2. HMS Audacious – Malin Head, Co Donegal

HMS Audacious is one of the most famous shipwrecks off the Irish coast.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

A super-dreadnought battleship thought to be unsinkable met its watery doom in Malin Head, County Donegal. The ship was a King George V-class warship and carried a crew of 900.

German Ship SS Berlin had prepared a trap of mines in the middle of the British shipping lane that ran between Britain and Ireland.

The giant battleship hit one of the mines, and as it sank, more 470,000 pounds of explosives were set off. Shrapnel was thrown for thousands of yards.

Address: Malin Head, Cionn Mhálanna, Ardmalin, Co. Donegal

1. The Sunbeam Rossbeigh beach, Co. Kerry

Topping our list of the ten most famous shipwrecks off the Irish Coast is the Sunbeam.
Credit: irishshipwrecks.com

Topping our list of the ten most famous shipwrecks off the Irish Coast is the Sunbeam.

This shipwreck is 114 years old and situated on Rossbeigh beach, County Kerry. The shipwreck had been hidden under the sand for over a century, but the storms of early 2014 raised it above ground.

Address: Co. Kerry, Ireland

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