May 1588, the Spanish Armada, the largest invasion fleet ever, set
sail from Lisbon in Portugal.
Its purpose was to enforce a claim of Philip II of Spain to the
English throne and to restore the Catholic faith to Protestant England.
Under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, the Armada comprised
130 vessels of varying size, type and nationality, roughly 29,450
men and 2,250 guns of all kinds.
was supposed to rendezvous with land troops led by the Duke of Parma
and proceed to invade England. Storms and English frigates scattered
the unwieldy Armada and many of the ships were damaged or sunk in
Irish coastline claimed many vessels and even those crewmen that
reached land were not guaranteed safety or continued life. Today,
many wrecks still lie off the Irish coast and exercise a strange
fascination for both locals and visitors alike.