Wreck of the “Edmund” Source: the 1850 Illustrated London News. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Article accompanying the engraving in The Illustrated London News

The text below, which appeared on the page beneath the engraving, was created using ABBYY FineReader to render the Hathi Digital Library images into text. — George P. Landow

The following narrative of the frightful wreck of the barque ”Edmund,” at Kilkee, with the loss of ninety-six sonls, is by an eye-witness:—" But four days ago, he says, writing on the 22nd ult., “the noble barque sat proudly on the smooth waters of the Shannon, with 207 souls bound for the land of stars and freedom; to-day she has not a plank together to tell her name or destiny. She is torn, mangled, shivered asunder in splintered shreds — the completest wreck that writer ever described, or eye ever witnessed. She left the roadstead of Carrigaholt on the evening of Sunday, the 18th, and made considerable way throughout that night and the following day. The wind blowing a hard gala W.N.W., tossed her wildly, until every thread of canvass was rent to atoms, and two of her masts carried away; she became perfectly unmanageable, and drifted along at the mercy of the waves. By eleven o’clock on Tuesday night she struck on the Duggema Rocks, off the Bay of Kilkee. where she hung for sometime, until, washed off by a furious sea, she came to cast anchor immediately beneath Sikes' Lodge, at the entrance of the Bay. Holding to for some time, the waves rolling over her hull and spars, she dashed in a perfect broadside against the rock, breaking her back right through the centre, and plunging her only remaining most clear on the shore. By the aid of this mast, the hands and several of the passengers were enabled to crawl to the rock, where they clung with the grasp of the drowning until rescued from their perilous position by some tenderhearted natives. The stern, half torn from the prow, bounded off to sea, carrying with it pieces of spars, cords, and sheathing, together with several of the wretched passengers, whose piercing cries used sometimes to be heard above the roar of the waves and howling storm; while the prow half, held fast to the anchor, came with the crushing power of thunder against the pointed rock, until it was ground to fragments, which the waves and the storm hurled into the air.

The brave captain clung to the wreck while there was a stave to stand upon or a life to be saved; and, when the last plank was shivered from his feet, he took an aged woman, who still clung to the plank, and, flinging her on his back, plunged into the sea, and succeeded in reaching shore. All glory to the brave fellow! He is English by birth, and Wilson by name.

The first man on the shore and the last to leave it was Richard Russell, Esq of Limerick. With the aid of two other men, M'Carthy, a coast-guard, and Curtin, a Kilkee shoemaker, he stood upon the rock throughout that terrible night, drenched by the sea. and almost exhausted from his superhuman labours, bearing in his arms the half-dead creatures who had crawled to the rocks, and rescuing many of them from certain death.

When the roll was called on Wednesday, at three o'clock, the individuals

The aspect of the entire coast is appalling; from Jonas Studdert’s Gate to Sikes' Lodge are to be seen heaps of scattered fragments, planks, boards, and bolts, staves, shrouds and canvass, boxes, trunks, and scraps of wearing-apparel, twisted, bent, and literally ground to pieces."

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“Wreck of the “Edmund”.” Illustrated London News (7 December 1850): 436. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 10 December 2015.

Last modified 12 December 2015