-> 2008 -> Exmouth Disaster Memorials on Islay

Monday, 09/Jun/2008

Exmouth Disaster Memorials on Islay

Picture of a stone memorial surrounded by a stone wall

Islay has seen a number of maritime disasters over the centuries. One of the worst tragedies was probably the Exmouth, which was shipwrecked on the cliffs near Ghille Mhóire on the west coast of Islay in 1847. There were only 3 survivors, more than 240 emigrants from Ireland and crew drowned. Most people will probably be aware of the memorial near Sanaigmore, not so well known is the memorial at Tràigh Bhàn.

The Londonderry Sentinel has a nice story about a fitting tribute to maritime disaster, providing some background and thoughts by Bill McCondichie. The report mentions the 108 bodies which were recovered and buried in a mass grave at Tràigh Bhàn. This is where the second memorial stands:

Picture of a memorial at the grave for the victims of a shipwrecking above a bay

The simple text on the plaque reads (unfortunately we didn't have anything to hand to clean it):

Here Rest 108 Victims
Of The
"Exmouth" Sea Tragedy
28th April 1847

As Bill McCondichie points out, the grave is by beautiful beach (although I suspect he might be mixing up Sanaigmore Bay and Tràigh Bhàn, but then again both are beautiful). For an impression of the area you might want to visit my travelogue page from a walk from Saligo Bay to Dùn Bheolain and Tràigh Bhàn in 2003 with my late mother. There's also a QuickTime VR 180° panorama of a view over Eilean Mór and Tràigh Bhàn, giving a good impression of the area.

The beach and memorial aren't too difficult to reach through Gleann Tuath, walking from Sanaigmore. However, you will need walking boots and a map (with some basic navigation skills) as there is no real path leading to it.

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