THE S.S. CLONSILLA 1930
Still registered to Arthur Guinness & Sons in the Irish ships register S.S.Clonsilla sank
in Lough Neagh and lay undiscovered until a recent IS&BF sonar survey.
In 1976 the Clonsilla was sailing from Bally Ginnis to Toombe bridge during rough
weather with a full load of sand. Recently fitted with a new diesel engine she was
steaming into the wind and water was splashing over her bows and over the greedy
boards that rise up from the deck and surround her hold. She was steadily taking water
into the sand in her forward hold and unbeknownst to her skipper her bows were
becoming heavier allowing more water over her bows. Rounding Doss point within
sight of land, her bows dipped under a wave and she drove herself, under full way to
the bottom. Her skipper had seconds to get away and had to swim ashore.
Her exact whereabouts remained a mystery until IS&BF commissioned a sonar search
of the area. In September 2006 she was found, upright listing to port slightly buried in
36foot of water.
She is now lying, abaft of a overgrown cutting extending 400 meters into Lough Neagh.
There are a number of wrecks fore and aft of her, most notably the Vartry lying aft. She
is resting on the sandy shore with her bows above water by 50cm and a 15 degree port
list. Inclined 8 degrees astern she is somewhat overgrown by scrubs and thickets
making shore access difficult.
A diving survey indicated she was in good condition and could be refloated. Visibility in
the Lake is very poor and a proper survey could not be undertaken.
We are optimistic that the Clonsilla could be the most intact vessel and in light of her
relatively sedate role as a permanently moored reception / café barge, the structural
requirements are far less than passenger ships allowing us to retain much more of the