Wexford's Islands

Tuskar Rock

Tuskar Rock, located seven miles off Carnsore Point in Co. Wexford, on the direct route from America to Liverpool, was a major hazard to mariners in the days of sail; the wrecks in this vicinity are said to lie two and three deep.

Tuskar Light was constructed in 1815, with 11 men losing their lives during construction. 10 were drowned when an October storm swept them away, leaving a further 14 hanging onto the rock for 3 days, one of whom died of his injuries later. It was also a dangerous place to be during WWII, a light-keeper lost his life and a second was injured when a drifting mine exploded against the rock. The lighthouse was fully automated in 1993. (Photo – oceanfroggie)

Lord Randolph Churchill, on a yachting cruise in 1886, famously landed and enjoyed a liquid repast with the lighthouse men. His subsequent complaints about their living conditions led to the rehousing of their families in purpose-built accommodation on Slaney St. in Wexford Town.

Tuskar Rock was the site of an air disaster on March 24th 1968, when Aer Lingus Flight 712, a Vickers Viscount 803 EL-AOM named Saint Phelim, crashed en route from Cork to London, killing 61 passengers and crew.

 Although the investigation into the crash lasted two years, a cause was never determined. Theories have included corrosion, a British experimental missile, metal fatigue, a mid-air collision with a French-built military aircraft that was training with the Irish Air Corps, a UFO, or a bird strike, with the most likely cause officially regarded as “a flutter-induced fatigue failure of the elevator trim tab operating mechanism”.

This was Aer Lingus’ first and, to date, only major accident.