PS Queen Victoria Shipwreck

Queen Victoria Paddle Steamer sinks just off the Baily Lighthouse 

The Baily Lighthouse located on Howth Head was first built in about 1667 by Sir Robert Reading who was in charge of building several privately owned Lighthouses here in Ireland by order of King Charles II of England.

The Baily lighthouse was originally built high up on the headland, however it had to be moved closer to the sea because it was often obscured by fog. This specific build was completed in 1814.

The Baily Lighthouse, as well as being one of the most picturesque locations of Howth because of its panoramic views of Dublin Bay, is also known for the tragedy of the PS Queen Victoria ship wreck.

The PS Queen Victoria was a paddle steamer boat that travelled from Liverpool on the 14th of February 1853 with the intentions to dock in Dublin Port. There were approximately about 100 people on board.

As the boat approached the Irish Coast at Howth head, there was severe fog and a partial snow storm in lieu. The ship first struck the Lighthouse on the 15th of February at about 2:00am. The Captain of the ship attempted to navigate the 333 ton boat away from the rock face but it had already started to take in water. As the boat lay dead in the water, it hit the rocks again and sunk 15 minutes later with only 17 people escaping on a lifeboat.

The last of the passengers and crew on board which came to an estimated 83 people died in the wreck, including the Captain.

The responsibility was placed on the Captain and also on the crew of the Lighthouse for not having installed a fog alarm. A bell was finally installed two months later, despite having been warned 7 years prior to the wreck.

The wreck was never removed despite attempts and still remains at the bottom of the Baily Lighthouse twenty metres below sea level to this day.