IS&BF  

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 original vessel. 

Click to enlarge
Sonar Image, 38 foot    
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