Name: John BRUEN
Given Name: John
Birth: in Rosses Point,Sligo,Ireland
Christening: 4 APR 1848 Drumcliffe (Sligo) Ireland
Death: 13 MAR 1888 in Luce Bay,Wigtownshire,Scotland of Perished during prolongued shipwreck
Burial: Drumcliffe (Sligo) Ireland
Sponsors Patrick Gillan, Bridget Gilgan
Change Date: 12 FEB 2007 at 20:58:02
Lost in the wreck of the "Galgorm Castle" at Killener's Point, Luce Bay, Wigtownshire, Scotland.
The Screw Steamer 'Galgorm Castle' had been built by Harland and Wolff of Belfast in 1879 and purchased three years later by Messrs. Harper Campbell of Sligo. It was usually employed carrying coal., flour and grain but occasionally chartered out for lightering work at English and Scottish ports.
The Wreck of the Galgorm Castle.
[recorded in McTernan: "Memory Harbour: The Port of Sligo"]
On the evening of 12th March 1888, the 88 ton 'Galgorm Castle' skippered by John Bruen of Rosses Point and carrying a cargo of coal set sail from the English seaport of Garston to return to Sligo. As darkness fell the following evening she was on course and approaching the Mull of Galloway when a blizzard developed and she was driven into Luce Bay, a notorious area for shipwrecks. Captain Bruen, fearing for the safety of his vessel, decided to beach her but, before he succeeded in doing so, she struck on Killener's Point and rapidly filled with water. To save themselves from instant immersion the crew climbed the rigging to a point of temporary safety.
With the storm continuing and the cold becoming intense their position became more precarious as the night progressed. They hung on desperately despite the numbness that was gradually enveloping their aching limbs in the hope that a rescue might somehow be effected by the personnel of a nearby Coast-Guard station. Midnight had passed and they still managed to hold-on in their increasingly insecure positions, when Captain Bruen, who had occupied the lowest position on the rigging, was washed away by the mountainous seas. After a lapse of twenty minutes or so able seaman, Michael Gillen and fireman Edward Towey suffered a similar fate. Three others, namely, Jamsey Tracey (mate), John Murphy (engineer) and Peter Foley (fireman) also dropped to watery graves as the bridge and bulwarks were being carried away in the worstening conditions.
The two surviving crew members, Henry Gaffney of Sligo and Patrick Bruen, brother of the Captain, both managed to hold on until 5.am when the Coast-Guard eventually succeeded in getting a line aboard and brought them to safety. On Sunday, March 17th, the bodies of the 5 drowned seamen, accompanied by the two survivors, arrived at Rosses Point on board the Laird steamer - "Fern". Bruen, who was survived by a widow and ten (sic) children, together with Tracey and Gillen were interred at Drumcliffe, and Murphy and Towey in Sligo cemetery. The body of the sixth victim, Peter Foley had not been recovered.
The Tragedy of the "Galgorm Castle" by Martin Watters:
Come all you sympathisers and listen to my song,
On the melancholy subject I won't detain you long.
It's concerning the calamity that befell that gallant ship,
The ill-fated 'Galgorm' on her last and final trip.
The crew when last she started, was comprised of eight all told,
Undaunted and courageous men, experienced, brave and bold,
The Captain was John Bruen who knew his duties well,
And whose navigating qualities no other could excel,
The mate was Jamsie Tracey and no better could be found,
His experience as a seaman both practical and sound.
And John Murphy at the engine - he was in his proper place,
A temperate and steady man who never knew disgrace,
Edward Towey was a fireman, a genial, worthy soul,
Both he and Peter Foley had the fires to control,
Two worthier companions you could not in Sligo find,
And deeply they're lamented by the friends they left behind.
Michael Gillen was another one of that ill-fated crew,
And 'er embarking at the Quay, he bid his friends adieu,
All these have met a watery grave, it grieves me much to state,
There are but two survivors left, their story to relate.
The 'Galgorm' was a steamer built in 1879,
In the thriving town of Belfast, north of the bloody Boyne,
She never met an accident since first she worked a screw,
Until this sad fatality by which she lost her crew.
On the 12th of March she started with a load of English coals,
(Not thinking that so very soon she'd perish on the shoals)
She proceeded on her voyage that night and the next day,
But perished in a heavy fog near Dromore in Luce Bay.
A terrific snow storm was raging at the time,
Which the captain thought to weather with energy sublime,
But alas such hope soon vanishes as the crew were washed away,
And all of them, excepting two have perished in the sea.
The Captain leaves a loving wife and family of ten,
As a husband and a father he was foremost among men.
Poor Tracey leaves a widow and little children eight,
And Murphy's care was five in all, who now lament his fate.
Edward Towey leaves a widow and a family of five,
To mourn and tender for he loved them when alive.
And oft will Mrs. Foley in the stillness of the night,
Think of her awful vision and her little child's insight.
Now to conclude and finish, I have little more to say,
But that their souls may obtain peace, let every Christian pray,
And I hope a generous public, assisted by the press,
Will start a widow and orphans fund to relieve their sad distress.
The Galgorm Castle was later salvaged and traded again but was to sink without loss of life on two more occasions. She ran aground several times and was involved in two collisions but got through the 1914-18 war without further incident and was afloat until 1926 when she was scrapped after 47 years of trading.
Father: John BRUEN b: ABT 1820
Mother: Bridget GILLAN
Maria Ann GILLEN b: ABT 1848 in near Rosses Point,Drumcliffe or Sligo,Ireland
29 APR 1873
- John BRUEN b: ABT 1875
- Martin Peter BRUEN b: 31 JUL 1877 in Rosses Point,Drumcliffe,Sligo,Ireland
- William Joseph BRUEN b: 12 JUN 1879
- Patrick BRUEN b: 4 OCT 1882
- Michael BRUEN b: 19 DEC 1885
- Redmond BRUEN b: ABT 1886
- Valentine BRUEN b: 13 FEB 1887
- Lily BRUEN b: ABT 1889 in Rosses Point,Sligo,Ireland