Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Shipwrecks ahoy in area

OVER 60 historic shipwrecks have been identified around the Donegal peninsula of Inishowen, it emerged today, with the North West fast becoming one of Europe's premier diving sites.

OVER 60 historic shipwrecks have been identified around the Donegal peninsula of Inishowen, it emerged today, with the North West fast becoming one of Europe's premier diving sites.

Teams of divers from across Europe are now flocking to plunge the depths in numerous coastal locations in the area.

Diver training teams are now sailing into the region to train new recruits as interest spirals.

Over 30 wrecks have been identified in waters around Ireland's most northernly point, Malin Head.

The third largest liner to sink during World War I, the 750 ft Justina, lies off the Malin Head coast.

Nearby lies the wreck of the World War II Empire Heritage, a 12,000 ton oil tanker carrying British tanks that now litter the sea bed.

A further 18 wrecks have been located around the lighthouse island of Instrahull, six miles off the Malin Head coast.

Among those discovered around the island is the German submarine UB 109, which sunk at the end of World War I in 1918.

A Greek cargo ship, the Argo Delos, also sank near the island in 1960 while making its way to Cuba.

The high incidence of shipwrecks around the Malin Head area has been attributed to treacherous waters that have resulted in some divers being carried out into the Atlantic by strong currents in recent years.

A further nine ships have been located off the coast of Stroove beach at Inishowen Head.

The most famous of all Donegal's wrecks is the Spanish Armada's La Trinidad Valencera, which foundered off Kinnego Bay in 1588.

Meanwhile, in Lough Swilly the 15,000 tonne Laurentic was carrying a fortune in gold to repay British war debts when it sank.

Dozens more shipwrecks have also been found at sites around the rest of Donegal including Inishboffin, Aranmore Islands, Tory Island and Teelin.

The Irish government is now promoting the region as a major diving location on an international scale.

A spokesman for North West Tourism said: "Donegal is now a must for all divers.

"The Donegal coastline is awash with the most beautiful and spectacular dive sites.

"The more experienced diver will be able to tackle most of the many wrecks which lie around the Donegal coastline, especially in the northwest region, but there are plenty of dive sites for those with less experience."

He added that the stormy seas had made many sites inaccessible for most of the year.




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