plassey wreck

This rusting hulk lies pretty far up on the rocks on the western shore of a tiny island called Inisheer, one of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay, Ireland. This is a great shot from Google Earth because the wreck throws a very clear shadow on the ground below and you can see its contour. The small island of Inisheer is a quiet place of stone walls and green fields. Less than 300 people live here. It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic place.

The ship is called the Plassey (also spelled Plassy), which was a fairly small, workaday cargo vessel that sailed around the coast of Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s, carrying various items of cargo from place to place. On March 8, 1960, a severe storm in Galway Bay blew the Plassey toward the rocks on the shore of Inisheer. The vessel was carrying a load of stained glass and whiskey. She crashed on Finnis Rock, which is actually not the location you see above. A group of local men who called themselves the Inisheer Rocket Crew sprang into action and rescued the 11 crew members of the Plassey at the height of the storm. No one was killed or seriously hurt. Then, a few weeks later, another storm washed the Plassey off Finnis Rock and deposited her here, where she’s been ever since. The cargo was obviously salvaged, but pulling the wreck off the rocks was too big a job. Thus, for the last 55 years, the hulk has remained here. It last shifted position during a severe storm in 1991.

You can see photos of the Plassey wreck from ground level at its page here on the wonderful (but sadly defunct) Artificial Owl blog. The images are haunting.