La Girona of the Spanish Armada

La Girona was a galleon of the 1588 Spanish Armada which foundered and sank off Lacada Point , County Antrim, Northern Ireland , on the night of 26 October 1588 after making its way eastward along the Irish coast.

The wreck is noteworthy for the loss of life that resulted and for the treasures since recovered.

The Girona had anchored in Killybegs harbour , Donegal , for repairs to her rudder while two other ships had been lost on attempting to enter the harbour. About 800 survivors from two other Spanish shipwrecks were taken aboard at Killybegs.

With the assistance of an Irish chieftain , MacSweeney Bannagh , the Girona was repaired and set sail for Catholic Scotland on 25 October , with 1,300 men on board.

But then a gale struck and the Girona was driven ashore at Lacada Point ,  near Dunluce in County Antrim on the night of 26 October 1588.

Of the estimated 1300 people on board , there were only nine survivors , who were sent on to Scotland by Sorley Boy MacDonnell ; 260 bodies were washed ashore.  Some of these sailors are buried at the nearby Saint Cuthberts church which is a hidden gem when on Ireland tours or extended Belfast tours.

The first salvage attempts of the Girona were made within months by Sir George Carew.

Also Sorley Boy MacDonnell recovered 3 brass cannon and 2 chests of treasure from the wreck.

But in 1967 and 1968  , off the coast of  Portballintrae a team of Belgian divers brought up the greatest find of Spanish Armada treasure ever recovered from a wrecked ship.  Recovered gold jewellery is on show in the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

An interesting piece of history to be aware of on your extended Belfast tours up the North Coast.

Tours of Ireland should always include a visit to this part of the island…..

If you are in Belfast in 2013 contact Ireland Luxury Tours…..we can make it happen…..

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