Shipwreck of the Spanish Armada
Marine travel was important up until the last century in Ireland, and the fear of loved ones being lost at sea was a significant one. Many famous shipwrecks are associated with Ireland – the Lusitania in Cork as well as the Titanic who was built in Belfast. A less famous though equally horrible fate awaited the doomed Spanish Armada, capturing the imaginations of the Irish for decades. In the 16th century, retaliating against the British for their state-sanctioned pirates who attacked and disrupted Spanish trade routes, Spanish Armada set sail for the British Isles. Not all went as planned and over two dozen ships, each with bounty and crew, ploughed into the rugged coastal rocks of Ireland as north as Donegal as south as Kerry. Those ships that survived destruction fled and were hunted down, and those survivors who did make it on land alive were killed by the locals for fear of being accused of treason. Hundreds of men lost their lives to a cold watery grave on Ireland’s rugged coasts.
In the waters off the Causeway Coast, the last of the ships to be wrecked in the tragedy was La Girona, of which less than a dozen of her 1,300 crewmen survived, leading to the ship’s near-legendary status. Interestingly, Dunluce Castle, now a dramatic silhouette perched on the edge of the coast, was partly funded from the loot salvaged from La Girona, which crashed near the castle shores. In a dramatic turn of fate, parts of the castle collapsed suddenly into the sea on a dark and stormy night – the castle was later abandoned and the village was lost. It’s hard to say if the castle of the coast is haunted by any particular spirit but its safe to say that shores of Ireland are plagued with the tragedy of drowned spirts, and the ocean floor is littered with skeletons of ships and their sailors alike.
Explore the Causeway Coast & learn more about the doomed Spanish Armada on our trip, Hiking the Causeway Coast & Donegal. Other highlights include the Giant’s Causeway, a hike along the Causeway Coast (favourited as Best Destination by Lonely Planet, the wilds of Donegal and the clifftop Dunluce Castle.