Mr John Paysden: Spanish Armada

Wednesday 23 May 2018: Mr John Paysden.  The Spanish Armada

Probus President, Paddy McGowan, with Guest Speaker, John Paysden

On 25 September 1588 three ships from the Spanish Armada foundered off the Irish coast at Streedagh Beach, Mullghmore, Co Sligo.  Discovered by divers in 1985 lying in water just 15 -30 ft deep they have been identified as La Lavia, a merchant ship with 25 guns, La Juliana, a Catalia Merchant with 32 guns and the Santa Maria de Vision, a Ragusa merchant with 18 guns.    In recent times a monument to commemorate what happened has been erected close to where the ships were attempting to shelter.  Unfortunately the severity of the storm was such that the three ships were washed ashore and completely destroyed within the space of an hour.  Not all drowned; 140  made it to shore, only for most to be massacred by English troops garrisoned in Sligo.  A small number of sailors did survive, thanks to a mixture of good fortune and assistance from some of the Irish chieftains of the area.  John’s informed talk included much interesting  information about the Armada, including the fact that a typical Spanish galleon was 100 ft long, 36 ft wide, had a speed of 3.5 knots and was constructed from the timber of 2000 trees.  The English Navy under the command of Sir Francis Drake had fewer ships but because they were faster, more manoeuvrable and had canon of greater range and accuracy they put the Armada to flight sending it on an ill-fated voyage back to Spain round the North of Scotland and down the west coast of Ireland.  And “the rest is history” .