Last week I was lucky enough to fulfil a dream I’ve had since I started researching the RMS Tayleur a couple of years ago: I was able to visit Lambay. This beautiful island lies off the coast of Howth, a little to the north of Dublin, and I was taken over on a speedy inflatable called a ‘rib’ (I’d like to make some kind of Adam/Eve joke but my brain is still too giddy, do leave one in the comments section if you’re up for it). I saw a sleeping seal bobbing straight up and down like a cork in the water, all sorts of seabirds that I won’t even attempt to (mis)identify, jellyfish, and a minke whale. It was BRILLIANT. I absolutely recommend contacting Eoin Grimes of Skerries SeaTours on [Irish code] 0863043847 if you’re in the area.
Lambay isn’t just a stunning bird reserve full of deer and wallabies (yes, really), it’s also where the RMS Tayleur wrecked 48 hours into her maiden voyage for the White Star Line 160 years ago. 290 survivors climbed the treacherous cliffs to safety despite horrific injuries and shock, and stayed there for a couple of nights (most of them out in the open) until they could be transported to the mainland. It was gloriously sunny when I was there, with barely a breeze, but I couldn’t help but look on those near-vertical cliffs in horror. They’re menacing even on a late summer’s day, let alone in a winter storm.
I took my copy of “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic‘” (Pen & Sword, 2014) and read the names from the back of the book aloud, all 700+ of them. It took ages and really drove home just how many people were directly involved with this horrific shipwreck. I felt incredibly privileged to be there, and to be able to leave as I chose. Many hundreds of those on board the RMS Tayleur that day did not.
If you have any questions or information on the Tayleur do feel free to leave a comment or to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org