#OTD in 1847 – The passenger ship Stephen Whitney is wrecked on West Calf Island off the southern coast of Ireland.

The Stephen Whitney was a passenger carrying sailing ship which was wrecked on West Calf Island off the southern coast of Ireland on 10 November 1847 with the loss of 92 of the 110 passengers and crew aboard. The disaster results in the construction of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse. The 1034 ton ship left New York on 18 October for Liverpool carrying passengers and a cargo which included corn, raw cotton, cheese, resin, and 20 boxes of clocks. On 10 November in thick fog the captain, C.W. Popham, mistook the Crookhaven lighthouse for the one at the Old Head of Kinsale. At around 10 pm the ship struck the western tip of West Calf Island, completely breaking up within about ten minutes. Conditions in the area were distressing as it was the height of the Great Hunger. The loss of the ship triggered the decision to replace the Cape Clear Island lighthouse with one on Fastnet Rock.

Loss of the Stephen Whitney Packet Ship

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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.

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