|SS Pembroke – AH Poole Collection NLI|
The vessel was operated by the Great Western Railway Company and regularly sailed on the Milford Haven to Waterford route and as such would have been a regular to the people of Cheekpoint and the Waterford estuary.
She departed Milford port on the 18th of February 1899 with 28 passengers, the mail, and a cargo of 28 tons, under the command of Captain John Driver, and with a crew of 30. Passing close to the Saltee Islands off the Wexford coast, the master, spotted breakers ahead, and immediately reversed the engines to full speed astern. The response came too late and before the way could be taken off her, she struck the Islands.
|Aground – AH Poole Collection NLI|
|Aground again, but purposely
AH Poole Collection NLI
|Inspection in progress – AH Poole Collection NLI|
She was re-grounded at the Strand Road, above the main quay, and it seems that it was a significant draw for city and country people alike. The photo above clearly shows the view afforded to the damaged section. It won’t be lost on my regular readers, that the position was almost certainly chosen to provide such access, highlighting that a lot of local knowledge was drawn on to achieve such benefit. Confident of the extent of the damage and that temporary repairs could keep the ship watertight, a quick patch up was completed, and the Pembroke sailed once more for Lairds for repairs.
The Pembroke returned to service the Irish Sea and continued up until 1916. In that year she was given over to general cargo runs and she was retired and sold for scrap in 1925. The subsequent inquiry into the incident on the Saltees makes for interesting reading and parts of the account have been taken directly from that source.
The original story was passed on to me by Tomás Sullivan Cheekpoint.
1 & 2. John Power – A Maritime History of County Wexford Vol 1(2011) pp 377- 381
All photos above are sourced from the National Library of Ireland and were part of the AH Poole Collection.