contact us

22 Victoria Road
Derry~Londonderry
Northern Ireland
BT47 2AB

Tel: +44 (0) 28 7134 2100
Email: general@loughs-agency.org

Dundalk Street,
Carlingford,
Co Louth,
Rep. of Ireland

Tel: +353 (0) 42 938 3888
Email: carlingford@loughs-agency.org

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Shipwrecks

The spectacular coast of northern Inishowen, studded with islets and rocky reefs, has claimed many ships through the centuries.

One of the more famous wrecks was discovered in 1971 by the City of Derry Sub-aqua Club. This was the fourth largest ship in the Spanish Armada, La Trinidad Valencera, a 1,100 ton warship. She sank in Kinnagoe Bay, west of Inishowen Head, on 14 September 1588. Many of the artefacts recovered from the wreck are now on display in the Tower Museum, close to the city walls of Derry.

During World War Two, Lough Foyle and the flat ground along its eastern shore became of strategic importance to the Allies. After the fall of France, the north west of Northern Ireland was the most westerly part of Allied held territory and, therefore, vital in the Battle of the Atlantic, offering sites for airfields, naval bases and communications stations. Many wrecks lie along this shore dating from the period, including naval ships of various classes, merchant vessels and German U-boats, as well as aircraft.

On 14 May 1945, the German U-boat fleet officially surrendered at Lisahally, at the mouth of the River Foyle. Inside a few months many of these submarines were scuttled in nearby Atlantic waters.

For centuries an important trading base, Carlingford Loughs scattered reefs and rocky outcrops (a particular hazard at the mouth of the lough) have claimed many ships!

The Haulbowline Lighthouse stands offshore to warn sailors of dangers lurking beneath the waves. In the days of sail, ships had much less manoeuvring ability due to an obvious reliance on the vagaries of wind and many foundered on the rocks at the entrance to the lough, having failed to clear the narrow passage.