North Co. Donegal Wreck List
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Vessel Type:

Navy Gunboat

Location:Co. Donegal
Date of Loss:22nd September 1884Place:Tory Island
Cause of Loss:Struck rocksBoat Dive from:Downings or Falcarragh
Charted Depth:10 - 20mIrish O.S. Map:Discovery Series No. 1
Height of Wreck:2mAdmiralty Chart No:2752
Hull Material:IronLatitude (approx.):55° 15' 20" North
Type of Seabed:Rocks and shaleLongitude (approx.):08° 14' 21" West
Average Visibility:10 - 20mConvert Lat. & Long. to -Decimal - CLICK HERE
Image available?Yes - see below Diving Experience:Experienced
Diving Information:
  • Remains lie at 6m onwards in downward sloping gullies.
  • Very easy to stray into turbulent water.
  • Visibility usually good. Loads of marine life.
  • Consult local knowledge or speak to Downings SAC for advice.
  • Launch from Dowings Harbour, or Falcarragh. Be prepared for a long boat ride.
  • Be ever watchful of the weather. It can change dramatically in 30 minutes.
  • Best dived at Slack Water
Historical Information:
  • Built in 1880 at Barrow by Vickers, she grossed 455 tons and measured 38.10 x 7.01 x 3.04m.
  • Powered by a 360 h.p. compound steam engines, she was also rigged as a schooner.
  • She was armed with 2 machine guns, 2 x 20lb. guns and 2 x 64lb. guns.
  • Bound Westport for Moville in Lough Foyle in clear weather she struck an isolated rock under the lighthouse around 3.30am.
  • The order to abandon ship was given, but the lifeboats were wrecked by the waves while still on the davitts. She then slipped into deeper water until only the tops of her masts showed.
  • Fifty crewmen were lost, and her commander Lt. J.D. Nicholls.
  • Some of the crew were buried on the island near the lighthouse.
  • The wreck was bought by the Cornish Salvage Co. in 1910.
  • H.M.S. Wasp was replaced with another gunboat of the same name.

H.M.S. Wasp

A photograph of a painting hanging in Tory Island Hotel of the original H.M. Wasp

(Thanks to Jim Moore for the information)

All rights respectfully acknowledged


H.M.S. Wasp replacement

A photo of the replacement H.M.S. Wasp taken in 1886

photo via Michael Montgomery (Castlereagh SAC)

All rights respectfully acknowledged

Source Publications:
"Shipwreck Index of Ireland"
Richard & Bridget Larn
Lloyd's Register - Fairplay Ltd 2002 - ISBN: 1900839970
"Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast 1105 - 1993"
Dr. Edward J. Bourke
Edward J. Bourke 1994 - ISBN: 0952302705
Other Sources:
Robert Gault
Castlereagh SAC (2001)
via Email (2009)

North Co. Donegal Wreck List

Last update - 26-May-2009

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