Survey project puts Kilmore shipwreck on map

By AMY LEWIS

Published 22/09/2015 | 00:00

Shipwreck from Google Earth.
Shipwreck from Google Earth.
Position of the shipwreck.
Sonar image of the City of London.
Sonar image of the City of London.
Sonar image of the City of London.

A series of new dramatic images of a shipwreck off Kilmore have emerged, giving people a glimpse into the undersea world like never before.

Images of the City of London, which sank in 1874, are the result of an INFOMAR national marine mapping programme managed by the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Marine Institute. The RV Tonn and RV Keary were tasked with mapping the seabed around Kilmore, Rosslare and Wexford, during which they came across the wreck.

'The images are quite dramatic. These pictures, of the vessel detail underwater from sonar, will not have been seen before,' said Koen Verbruggen, Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland.

'According to unverified reports on the web, it ran aground enroute from San Francisco to London, with Wheat and Salmon onboard. It was described as an "Iron, Full rigged ship of 1,199tons".'

The second 'major finding' in the area was a series of shoals - areas of shallow water in the sea.

'Obviously the shoals can be very dangerous to ships in the area,' said Koen.

These shoals, along with the shipwreck, were added to cureent nautical charts and maps.

The crew of researchers, headed up by project manager Archie Donovan, spent almost three weeks based off Kilmore. During this time, they rented an office in Kilmore Community Centre. They aim to give a public talk on their work in the near future.

'We like to inform the community about what we are doing,' said Koen. 'It normally goes down really well.'

The activity in Kilmore was part of the major ten-year INFOMAR programme to map all of Ireland's priority areas, which is now nearing completion.

'Ireland is a world leader in doing this work,' said Koen. 'The data can be used by all different agencies as it is made available completely free on internet. It can be used for everything, from updating nautical charts for safety to making maps used for planning windfarms.'

The programme is a successor to the Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS) and concentrates on creating a range of integrated mapping products of the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed in the near-shore area. It is being funded by the Irish Government through the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources as part of the National Development Plan, 2007 - 2013. Results and photographs of the surveys can be found on the INFOMAR website.

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