La Girona IV

The fate of La Girona

Today’s exploration of the Ulster Museum permanent exhibit “Treasures from the Girona” begins with the account of a survivor.

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He was extremely fortunate to escape with his life. After Calais, the attack of the English fireships, the Spanish ships suffered repeated North Atlantic storms, driven onto the irregular coast of which they had no knowledge or charts. It was with the assistance of Irish natives the survivors were able to regroup and embark on an ill-fated escape.

The reason for the heavy losses from the Girona wreck was the crew from several other ruined ships were on board.

The individuality of the lost comes across through their gold trimmings. It is said that wealthy Spaniards owned up to four sets of gold buttons, each with a different design.

To be continued….. (Click for the first post of this series)

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

La Girona III

A Disaster Examined

In this post we explore further, using my photographs of the Ulster Museum exhibit “Treasures from the Girona”, how the Spanish galleass La Girona came to be wrecked on the north coast of Ireland. It was not the only ship lost. Of the 130 armada ships, a third (43) did not return.

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Religion was the crux, Catholic Spain wanted to forestall Queen Elizabeth I’s establishment of Protestantism initiated by her father King Henry VII.

This placard displays treasure. The text implies it was not recovered from La Girona. The bronze medallion was struck by the Dutch in commemoration of the victory.

To be continued….. (Click for the first post of this series)

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

La Girona II

Historical Background to the wreck of La Girona

Pam and I woke early on June 8 for that 138 mile drive to my cousin’s farm on the Cooley peninsula, County Louth, Republic of Ireland. Learning the day before, from the Giants Causeway visitor center, of treasure recovered from a shipwreck off that coast, we planned to visit Belfast, where the Ulster Museum has a permanent exhibit, “Treasures from the Girona”. This is just a taste of the historical provided by this excellent exhibit….if you visit Northern Ireland make time to visit the Ulster Museum.

In this post we explore, using my photographs of the museum exhibits, how the Spanish galleass La Girona came to be in the North Atlantic off the Irish coast. The ship was part of a fleet supporting an invasion of England from Flanders.

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Religion was the crux, Catholic Spain wanted to forestall Queen Elizabeth I’s establishment of Protestantism initiated by her father King Henry VII and support of Dutch protestants against Spain. State sponsored piracy of Spanish ships was a secondary justification.

To be continued….. (Click for the first post of this series)

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills