Articles, Maritime History, Vessels

Troubled Waters


Troubled waters

Published by Nonesuch, Dublin, 2008. €16.99

This account of some well known shipwrecks on the Irish sea from The Princess Victoria in the North to the Seahorse at Tramore. There has been need for some time of a good account of the wreck stories of the east coast. Many such volumes have been produced covering the English and Welsh coasts. This book assembles well known accounts of some 20 incidents with particular space given to the torpedeoing of the Leinster.  It will be worthwhile for the general reader and informative for those with a general maritime or local interest. In this aspect it achieves its object without revealing any novel aspect of any of the disasters. Unfortunately several old canards are reproduced including the false allegation that the Tayleur crew were foreigners. A perusal of the crew list would deny that ridiculous yarn. Again the myth of the John Tayleur is introduced into the story confusing a ship that was broken some ten years before the Tayleur (name confirmed  by Lloyds survey and by inscription on the bell).  This confusion originated in two newspaper accounts in 1854.  The depiction of a 100 gun ship of the line as similar to the Prince of Wales and the Rochdale is a more serious error since both were small packet boats and there is ample evidence in Lloyds register entries. The book is readable and provided a basic insight into some of these disasters.   A low point of the production is the poor reproduction of illustrations due to the type of matt paper used in the production.  Typesetting and layout is also loose with many blank pages between short chapters.

reviewed by Ed Bourke.

by Patrick Ferguson