Saturday, 14 November 2015

Freemans Journal 30 September 1828

Tramore is looked upon as the best bathing place on the south east coast of Ireland. Its contiguity to Waterford gives it great advantages; but its invaluable superiority over every other bathing place I have seen, consists of its strand, which, when the tide is full out, leaves a space of between three and four miles in length of clear and compact sand, which may be travelled over by any vehicle. Tramore bay is of considerable extent, but exceedingly dangerous.
To any vessel coming near it with a strong south-east wind it is fatal, of which the history of this little place furnishes a most melancholy instance. A few mornings since I took an early walk to explore a large amount of sand, the accumulation of ages, situate at the extremity of the beach. My attention was arrested by the frightful sight of a quantity of human bones strewn about me. These bleached emblems of mortality seen on a barren sand-bank, with the load roaring of the sea below, presented an appalling spectacle, and left the mind to a thousand conjectures of the cause which led to such a scene.

Doubting whether to attribute it to deadly contest with Smugglers, who once carried on a considerable traffic in this bay, many of whom might have been shot, and unceremoniously thrown under the surface of the sand, or to a wreck, on my return home I made inquiry, and was asked if I had never heard of the Sea Horse Transport, which I confess I never had. My informant then gave me a detail of that awful calamity. The Sea Horse Transport was bound from Liverpool for Cork, and had on board a large portion of the 2nd battalion of the 59th regiment. On the 30th January, 1816, it was driven into the Bay Tramore by a storm, and within a mile of the shore was wrecked in the presence of hundreds of spectators, who from the violence of the storm were unable to render any assistance. By this dreadful visitation perished 12 officers, 264 privates and non-commissioned officers, 15 sailors and 71 women and children! Only four officers and 26 men were saved. Most of the bodies were cast on the beach, and carelessly buried on the sand bank to which I have alluded, a little above high water mark. The sea, it is said has since made some incursion beyond its usual limits, and exhumed the bones of these brave men. The surviving officers erected a monument in the church yard to their companions in arms, who perished in this melancholy catastrophe. This regiment was one of the most distinguished in the service. It was engaged in the memorable battles of Corunna with Sir John Moore, Vittoria, St. Sebastian, Bidassoa, Bayonne, Waterloo, Cambray, and at the second surrender of Paris. How painful to witness, and how discreditable to the Corporate Body of Waterford to allow, the bones of those to whom their country owed so much to remain so long neglected and disregarded!

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