Bruckless Bay Tragedy

Photo of Memorial Stone at Bruckles

Bruckless Bay Tragedy

On Monday 11th February 2013, a commemoration to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bruckless Bay Disaster took place overlooking Bruckless Bay.  On that date, 200 years ago, 200 curraghs, capsized in the Bay.  It is believed locally that up to 80 lives were lost, one of the biggest fishing tragedies in Ireland, but the official records state that it was 42 fishermen who died that night.  A local author, TC McGinley (1830-1887), writing under the pen name of ‘Kinnfaela’, wrote about this event in his book ‘The Cliff Scenery of South-Western Donegal’ the storm to supernatural intervention.

At the moving ceremony on the 11th February, many Donegal representatives from all walks of life were present including politicians, the Coastguard, fishermen, members of the religious community, and most importantly of all, and locals from the coastal regions of the area.  Mayor of Donegal, Councillor Frank McBrearty and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht,  Dinny McGinley, unveiled the monument, which is engraved in both English and Irish. 

The monument itself, weighing two and a half tonnes, is sandstone rock, set in a landscaped garden that overlooks McSwyne’s Castle and Bruckless Bay. 

Donegal county councillor John Boyle, chairman of the commemoration organising committee, said:  ‘Down the generations people just didn’t talk about’, adding, ‘there was so much sadness attached to it’. 

Afterwards in the nearby Castlemurray House, local Bruckless man Aidan McConnell, now resident in Dublin, gave a very interesting talk on the historic origins of the disaster and the consequences for the local community, all based on his own published research.