Published by Edward J Bourke, 33 Rushbrook, Dublin 15, November 2000, £11.99, ISBN 0 9523027 2 1
The third volume of SHIPWRECKS OF THE IRISH COAST by Edward Bourke compliments the previous two books published in 1994 and 1998 respectively. It is a welcome and absorbing addition to these works which have remained in print and are the result of the painstaking research which the author began about sixteen years ago. Like the previous volumes, the information is drawn from an extensive variety of sources, all of which are carefully documented in the bibliography.
Information on many hundreds more wrecks is added to the thousands already covered. The format remains largely the same as volumes 1&2 and the wrecks are recorded on a county by county basis around the Irish coast. It would seem that there were very few places on the coast that were not affected by shipwrecks and the pages abound with stories of great loss and suffering along with tales of great fortitude and heroism. Extensive use has been made of the Lloyd’s lists but as the author states , these cover only about a quarter of the ships which were wrecked.
This latest tour de force is made even more remarkable by the addition of chapters on Troopship losses, figureheads, Armada artefacts and a most informative section on Shipwreck research which gives many interesting sources of information.
The diligent scholarship of Edward Bourke in researching and compiling all of this information will ensure that this book and its sister volumes will remain not only the most comprehensive and significant source of information ever to be written on the subject of Irish shipwrecks but an invaluable aid to local historians and divers.
There are many unique illustrations and photographs throughout the book, many of which have never been previously published. We can only await with eager anticipation the forthcoming Shipwrecks of Ireland , a pictorial book which will bring together many of the illustrations used the three volumes along with many more distinctive images.
Review by Cormac Lowth