Wrecks List
Total Records: 1
Name Nationality Location Date Lost
Sirius   British  Ballycotton Co Cork  1847 

Sirius : 
Flag British  Builder Built at Leith 
Port Cork  Build Date 1838 
Official No   Material  
    Tonnage nrt/grt 703 
Ship type Paddle Steamer  Dimensions 178 | 25.5 | 18.25
Ships Role  Passenger/Cargo  Rigging Style Brigantine  
Super Structure
Wreck Location Smiths Rocks Ballycotton Co Cork 
Date Lost 16/01/1847  Captain Moffet 
Cause Ran Aground  Crew Lost  
Position 51.48 N / 08.00 W  Passengers Lost  19 
Google Map Location


The information which we gave yesterday of the wreck of the Sirius has been fully confirmed.
The Cork Southern Reporter states that between three and four o'clock on Saturday morning the vessel having made an excellent passage from Dublin to the offing of Cork harbour struck in a dense fog on a reef of rocks in Ballycotton Bay and instantly a scene of consternation not to be described prevailed among the passengers.

Captain Moffett the commander then deemed it advisable to back the ship off the reef and by much exertion with the engines and otherwise succeeded in doing so but they were only a very short time clear of the rocks when it became evident that the vessel would not much longer remain afloat as she was making water fast and had received serious injuries in her bottom and sides.

She was accordingly again turned towards the land and very soon after began to strike on a ledge called Smith's Rocks, about half a mile to the west of Ballycotton, with the certainty of going to pieces in a few hours. The total loss of the vessel being thus inevitable the attention of all on board was directed to the preservation of the crew and passengers and amidst the confusion and alarm that prevailed the life-boat which is usually carried over the paddle-box was attached to the davits and lowered though unfortunately on the wrong side of the ship. This boat we understand, was not equal to accommodate more than eight but immediately she was launched twenty croweded into her principally deck passengers and before she was well clear of the steamer melancholy to relate, she was swamped and all in her met a watery grave save Captain Cameron of the Prince river steamer who was a passenger from Dublin in the vessel. Retaining his presence of mind at such an awful and trying moment he managed to keep himself afloat and grasped a rope by means of which he was hauled on board

Meanwhile the steamer continued to thump heavily on the rocks while the screams of alarm from the affrighted passengers and the heavy surf breaking on her sides and on the deck rendered the scene one of awful danger and intense anxiety. soon after the Coast Guard boat from Ballycotton station, under command of Mr. Coghlan chief officer came alongside and the ship's boats having by this time been also launched the remaining passengers were got into them and safely landed though with the loss of every portion of their luggage.

We are sorry to learn that the country people in that wild and wretched locality availed themselves of the melancholy occasion to carry off everything they could lay their hands on. Every article that was washed ashore before the assistance of military or police arrived was instantly carried off by the people who continued to assemble in large numbers. A portion of the cabin plate and other portable articles of value were brought on shore in one of the boats but soon became the booty of the country people as did also such personal luggage belonging to the passengers as they contrived to save from the wreck.

One gentleman showed us his carpet-bag ripped open with a knife and having been plundered of all its contents it was thrown on the beach as useless. In fact the passengers who arrived in town had barely the clothes on their back and were obliged to purchase or borrow changes of linen.

The deck passengers who were drowned were principally policemen some who had gone up in the Vanguard in charge of convicts and some reinforcements from the constabulary depot in the Phoenix Park some soldiers and sailors one of the latter a man who was coming as mate to one of Mr.Scott's vessels having been shipwrecked three times within the last year.

The commander of the vessel Captain Moffett who had the reputation of being a skilful and experienced seaman is described as being almost out of his mind at the occurrence but of course we cannot at present form any opinion with reference to his proceedings. It is, however next to a certainty that to the want of a lighthouse on Cable Island which the shipping interests of this city have been so long contending for one of the main causes of this dreadful catastrophe may be traced.

Up to the last accounts the ship was fast going to pieces and probably after another tide there will not be a vestige of her left. None of the bodies are as yet found but it was thought that in the course of Sunday they would be washed ashore.

The number of passengers and crew on board the Sirius was as near as can be ascertained about ninety, seventy one of whom have been saved. She had a very large and valuable cargo from Glasgow and Dublin principally bale goods, groceries, musical instruments, books, furniture, packages, &c, and among them it is said five cases of theatrical wardrobes belonging to the comedian Mr.Wilde of the Olympic Theatre London. It is understood that the vessel is insured though whether to her full value is not known but it is thought none of the cargo is so protected and that it will be a complete loss.

The Sirius was a fine vessel of 700 tons and 320 horse power. She had been temporarily placed on the Dublin and Cork station instead of the Ocean. The Sirius was distinguished as having been the first steamer which crossed the Atlantic. She immediately preceded the Great Western in her first trip and both vessels lay in New York harbour together and returned at the same time.

Daily News, London, Wednesday, January 20, 1847
SS Sirius
Record Created on  15/06/2009
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