Girona (ship)

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Coordinates: 55°14′46″N 6°30′15″W / 55.2462°N 6.5043°W / 55.2462; -6.5043

Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg
Name: La Girona
Homeport: A Coruña
Fate: Wrecked 26 October 1588
General characteristics
Class and type: 50-gun galleass
Capacity: 1,300
Troops: 186
Complement: 531
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.

The shipwreck[edit]

La Girona had anchored in Killybegs harbour, Donegal, for repairs to her rudder.

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.[1]


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.[2]


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).

Sorley Boy MacDonnell recovered 3 brass cannon and 2 chests of treasure from the wreck.

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.[3][4] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "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. 
  2. ^ "First Trust £10 1998". Ron Wise's Banknote World. Archived from the original on 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  3. ^ Sténuit, Robert (1973). Treasures of the Armada. Trans. Francine Barker. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co. ISBN 0-525-22245-6. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]