Moves to protect Kerry shipwreck displaced by storm

National Monuments Service takes action to stop 1860s schooner being damaged

The wreck of The Sunbeam at Rossbeigh Strand in Co. Kerry which had been embedded in the sand for 111 years but this week’s storm propelled the 84-tonne wreck  about half a kilometre away. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

The wreck of The Sunbeam at Rossbeigh Strand in Co. Kerry which had been embedded in the sand for 111 years but this week’s storm propelled the 84-tonne wreck about half a kilometre away. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Fri, Jan 10, 2014, 06:45

The National Monuments Service is moving to protect the shipwreck of a 19th century schooner from souvenir hunters after recent storms displaced it, 111 years on from when it ran aground.

The Sunbeam – which had remained on the same spot on Rossbeigh beach, Co Kerry since January 28th, 1903 – has been one of the most photographed structures on the strand for generations.

Local woman Brenda Cahill said it has been moved 300 yards up the beach.

Over the past four days, people have begun to hack and remove pieces of the wood from the 84-tonne, 1860s schooner, which was on its way from Kinvara to Cork when it was driven ashore by gales more than a century ago.


Embedded
It had since lain embedded in the beach and was partially covered by sand. The top of the wreck was clearly visible until the entire structure was shifted by waves over the past week.

Independent councillor Michael Cahill welcomed action to ensure the wreck is preserved and reburied. It is expected that burying it in this way will better preserve the timber.

Shipwrecks of more than100 years old are protected by the National Monuments Act and cannot be interfered with except by way of licence. Officials were on their way to Rossbeigh to inspect the damage, and notices warning the public against touching it are to be put up.

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