treasures from the Spanish Amada in 1588. Jimmy Rang around and asked the divers who had served with him to join him on his search to find the treasure that Spanish feet were carrying when many were wrecked or scuttled off the coast of Ireland. Jimmy Bridgett explained that if they could locate the treasures that these ships were carrying they were worth several million pounds. They were going to need funding though to support a venture of this size. United Salvage Company were loaning them equipment and a diving barge they still needed a boat that could be anchored near the wreck site where the divers could live whilst excavating the vast area. They would need tools and chemical tanks for storing artefacts discovered on the wreck sites. Jimmy organised a meeting with his friends to explain in detail what he intended to locate. He met them in the club a week later He had been to the main library in Newcastle where he spent six days reading maritime history from 1588 when an Amada sailed from Spain intent on invading Britain. The fleet sent by Philip11 met with the English fleet at the battle of Gravelines. The Amada came under heavy fire from Francis Drake in the Revenge and John Hawkins in the Victory and many others in the British fleet. The Amada tried to escape to the North Atlantic when storms forced them onto rocks on the coast of Ireland. Queen Elizabeth1 warned the Irish that anyone found to be harbouring any of the Spanish fleet severe measures would be taken against them. 24 ships were wrecked and as a result there was debris spanning some 350 miles from the coast from Antrim to Kerry. Many of the survivors were executed on the orders of the Queen. It was said 5.000 were put to death. Others fled to Scotland.
The Spanish commander the Duke of Medina Sidonia from Flanders with three other vessels tried to bargain with the Lord deputy William Fitzwilliam after he was informed that the British Fleet had been defeated. They had marched for seven days and the survivors of the Trinidad met with an army led by brothers Richard and Henry Hovenden. They were the foster brothers of Hugh O Neil. They were ordered to take the Spanish invaders prisoners. The Spanish were sorted by rank and then over 300 men were executed. The surviving 150 men fled through the bog ending up a Dunluce. There were only 30 survivors when they were eventually handed over in London. Two unidentified ships sank off the coast of Donegal. The greatest loss of life came from the Galleas Girona. 800 men some survivors from other stricken vessels had been picked up. The La Rata Santa Maria and the Duquesta these two ships sank off Lacada Point after their rudders broke.1300 men perished by drowning. There were only nine survivors. Richard Bingham put to death 1.100 men at Connact.
“Christ, They didn’t take many prisoners in those days did they said Patrick Summers from Dublin.’
Jimmy carried on reading the notes that he’d written.
The Sloop the Nuesta Senora del Sorroco a 75 ton ship sank. 24 survivors were later hanged at Tralee on the orders of Lady Margaret Denny. The oar powered Zuniga made it back to Naples even with a damaged rudder. Then there was the Falcon Bianco 300 tons, 16 guns and 103 men Conception de Juanes Del Cano 18 guns and 225 men were grounded at Barna Skin; West of Galway City. They had been lured ashore by Looters of the O’Flaherty family. “There was another three ships sank in Sligo where 1800 lost their lives.
“How did you get all this information?’
“Well a lot of it came from Spanish commanders. Francisco De Cuellor gave a remarkable account of bravery and how he and his men survived and of how many ships there were what cargo they were carrying from the new world when they were ordered to support the Amada.