|Fate:||Wrecked 26 October 1588|
|Class & type:||50-gun galleass|
|Armament:||50 bronze cannons|
|Notes:||9 Survivors; 1291 lost|
La Girona was a galleass of the 1588 Spanish Armada that foundered and sank off Lacada Point, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on the night of 26 October 1588 after making its way eastward along the Irish coast. The wreck is noteworthy for the loss of life that resulted, and for the treasures since recovered.
La Girona had anchored in Killybegs harbour, Donegal, for repairs to her rudder while two other ships had been lost on attempting to enter the harbour. About 800 survivors from two other Spanish shipwrecks were taken aboard at Killybegs, from La Rata Santa Maria Encoronada, which ran aground in Blacksod Bay off the coast of County Mayo, and Duquesa Santa Ana, which went aground at Loughros Mor Bay, Donegal.
With the assistance of an Irish chieftain, MacSweeney Bannagh, La Girona was repaired and set sail for Scotland on 25 October, with 1,300 men on board, including Alonso Martinez de Leyva. Lough Foyle was cleared, but then a gale struck and La Girona was driven ashore at Lacada Point, near Dunluce in County Antrim on the night of 28 October 1588. Of the estimated 1300 people on board, there were nine survivors, who were sent on to Scotland by Sorley Boy MacDonnell; 260 bodies were washed ashore.
The wrecking of La Girona is commemorated today in illustrations of the Armada and the Antrim coast which appear on the reverse side of sterling banknotes issued by the First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland.
The first salvage attempts of the Girona were made within months by Sir George Carew, who complained at the expense of "sustaining the divers with copious draughts of usequebaugh" (uisce beatha; gaelic 'water of life') (whiskey).
In 1967 and 1968, off the coast of Portballintrae, a team of Belgian divers (including Robert Sténuit, the world's first aquanaut) brought up the greatest find of Spanish Armada treasure ever recovered from a wrecked ship. The Girona’s recovered gold jewellery is on show in the Ulster Museum in Belfast.
The wreck site was designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act on 22 April 1993.
- "La Girona" (PDF). # Annual Report of the Advisory Committee on Historic Wrecks, 2005. Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites. p. 35. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- "First Trust £10 1998". Ron Wise's Banknote World. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- Sténuit, Robert (1973). Treasures of the Armada. Trans. Francine Barker. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co. ISBN 0-525-22245-6.
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