Margaret Storey | TIDE Project Officer at Donegal County Council
Did you know the fast and powerful frigate (small & fast vessel) HMS Saldanha (first sailed July 1810) was tasked to protect Irish waters against the French military and from licensed pirates (privateers) and genuine pirates?
It was during one of her crucial tasks in November 1811, over 200 years ago, the Saldanha got caught in a violent storm heading towards Lough Swilly (Donegal) for shelter, frantically fighting the raging wind and waves. She struck rocks off Fanad Head, running aground near Ballymastocker Strand. The Crew of 253 sadly lost their lives, a number of the sailors on board were from County Donegal. It is known as one of the greatest sea tragedies along our shorelines and this prompted the building of Fanad Lighthouse (Teach Solais Fhánda). A Virtual Reality (VR) experience is being developed on the journey. Stay tuned! It will be launched in 2022!
In 1588, during the Spanish Armada and it’s voyage back to Spain, after the Battle of Gravelines, the Armada fleet was driven up north by violent storms towards Scotland to West Ireland, heading South for Spain. After 7 weeks at sea, many of the ships were in need of repairs. Our VR experience will take you back and assist in preparing the 'Girona' as she prepares to head back to sea before meeting her fate. You will also get the opportunity to go onboard 'La Trinidad Valencera' and help sail the ship before she met her fate at Kinnagoe Bay in Inishowen.
It is 50 years this year that the shipwreck was found in Donegal’s waters by the Derry Sub Aqua Club
– this will be commemorated at Inishowen Maritime Museum
later this year!
Donegal partners are working on a Virtual Reality experience with partners from Devon (England), Derry (Northern Ireland) & CLARTE (France), that will give users an experience dating back to the First World War! The VR experience will need your help to launch the balloon along with keeping a lookout during the escort!
While you are waiting for these VR experiences, take a visit to some of our stakeholders in Donegal: