Lord Blayney

"The ghost ship of Carlingford Lough"

See also..
"The ghost of Nannau"
"The ghost(s) of Gregynog"

On December 20th (or 18th, depending on the reference) 1833, the 200-ton wooden paddle steamer the Lord Blayney foundered on rocks near Prestatyn in Wales, just west of the River Dee whilst en route from Warrenpoint in Carlingford Lough (Ireland) to Liverpool, England. All on board perished (Captain Stewart, 16 hands, 80 passengers and "a vast number of pigs" [575] [737]). A possible cause of the disaster may have been that the North West Lightship broke adrift of its moorings, so the captain of the steamer could have mistaken the light on the point of Ayr light for that of the North West Lightship location [575], [576], [577] [578] & [737].

The Newry Commercial Telegraph
January 8, 1828 Newry-Ireland

LIVERPOOL AND NEWRY, THE LORD BLAYNEY STEAM SHIP, Lieut. CHARLES STEWART, R. N. Commander, WILL Sail from WARRENPOINT for LIVERPOOL, on SATURDAY Evening the 12th instant, at SIX o'Clock, and every SATUR- DAY during the month of JANUARY.--From LIVER- POOL every WEDNESDAY in said Month. For Freight or Passage apply to ROBERT PURDON, Agent, Newry. In Liverpool, to JOHN WATSON, Jun., 19, Water-street. Newry, January 8, 1828. 363 [5]

The Lord Blayney has subsequently been reported being seen before disasters on Carlingford Lough and the "appearance of the ghost ship is ingrained in local folklore and is said to herald a tragedy in the Lough" [576]. It was reported to have been seen before the sinking of the sailing vessel Robert Burns. On the afternoon of November 3rd 1916, relatives of James Boyle, the only survivor, claimed to have seen the Lord Blayney. [576]

In his book Legendary Stories of the Carlingford Lough, MG Crawford describes a sighting of the Lord Blayney: "we could see... the tall masts and funnel of a steamer appear as if she were rising from the grey breast of the sea; then the mast head light shining like a star burst full upon us. The ship was tossed as if knocked about in a storm, although where she lay was dead calm. We could hear the sound of the swishing water against her side, and the wind blowing through her rigging, as she rolled onward on her course. When she came opposite the quays at Warrenpoint we saw a cloud of steam go up as if the whistle was shrieking a warning; then slowly she sank; her stern lights vanished beneath the waves". [576] [820]

In November 1916 a major maritime tragedy occured, involving a cross channel passenger steamer, the SS Connemara of the London and North Western Railway Company and a Newry collier, the SS Retriever, with 94 people perishing within sight of land. The above sighting of the Lord Blayney preceeded this collision. [576]

Since the loss of the Connemara and Retriever, the ghost ship has been reported several times. [576].

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