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Spanish Wrecks
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Two Famous Armada Shipwrecks

La Girona( The Trinidad Valencera )

One of the most impressive Armada wrecks lies off the North Antrim coast. La Girona sank on the morning of 26th October 1588 and it was her discovery by the Belgian marine archaeologist Robert Senuit that probably rekindled interest in the Armada.

The Girona was a galleas, powered by sail and oar. Capable of carrying 500 men, she was the flagship of the Naples Squadron under the direct command of Hugh de Moncado. Her captain was Italian Fabricio Spinola of Genoa - and her complement included 120 Spanish officers. As well as cannon, she carried 8,000 pieces of shot.
At the time of her wreck, the Girona was carrying 1,300 men including survivors of other ships, commanded by Don Alonzo Martinez de Leiva whom de Cúellar describes as a “gallant captain.” Badly overladen she struck a reef at La Cada Point and sank almost immediately. Only 5 of her crew survived.

The Trinidad Valencera
( The Girona )

A refitted and refurbished 1,100-tonne Venetian merchantman, La Trinidad Valencera, captained by Don Alonzo de Luzon was one of the larger Armada transports.

On board, she carried three large siege guns donated by Philip II and designed by the noted Belgian gunsmith Remigy de Halut. She also carried numerous ceramic firepots known as bomba, crammed with flammable material which could be thrown amongst the sails of English shipping, and devices which could throw shrapnel amongst the sailors. She had 42 guns, one battery of which has been recovered.


Large and unwieldy, La Trinidad Valencera was the first Armada ship to run aground in Ireland. Badly damaged by heavy seas, she struck a reef in Kinnagoe Bay, near Malin Head, North Donegal on 16th September 1588. De Luzon had to pay the local O’Dohertys, 200 ducats to hire boats to bring his men from the stricken vessel. He then marched them overland to a castle where he was told there were Spanish sympathisers. Instead he found the place occupied by Irish mercenaries loyal to the English and a battle ensued.

Eventually the Spaniards were persuaded to lay down their arms, march south to Dublin where they were to surrender to the English Deputy. On the way, they were robbed and beaten and several of their nobles were shot. 150 Spaniards managed to escape to Scotland but 100 were held in Dublin castle.

Whilst being transported on another ship, they managed to seize control and sailed home to Spain. The wreck of the Valencera was discovered in February 1971 by members of Derry Sub-Aqua Club.