Cannon Rock

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Cannon Rock is a skerry in the North Channel off the coast of the Ards Peninsula of County Down. It lies offshore near Cloughey.

The rock is the easternmost point of County Down, of Northern Ireland, and indeed of the island of Ireland if counted with its off-shore isles and rocks. It lies to the east of South Rock, on which stands a disused lighthouse.

Marine hazard

The rock is a hazard to shipping. Between 1861 and 1865, nine vessels ran aground on it.[1]

On 14 August 1861, the Coriolanus from North Shields, en route from Liverpool to Quebec, lost her bearings in thick fog and grounded on the rock. The Lloyd's agents in Belfast sent the tug Wonder to assist, but before the tug arrived the weather deteriorated. The crew decided to abandon ship and took to the boats. All 28 drowned. An empty boat was found by the Betsy from Maryport floating off Ballywalter.[2]

On 5 January 1873 the Marseilles from London, en route from Moulmein in British Burma to Glasgow, also stranded on the Cannon Rock. The crew of 24 abandoned ship and took to the boats. One boat with six men was blown across the North Channel and made safe landfall on the Mull of Galloway, but six of the remaining 18 were drowned.[2]

On 29 December 1886, the Wembdon was sailing from Huelva to Troon, when she lost her way in a severe snowstorm and grounded on the Cannon Rock. The crew abandoned ship and rowed to safety at the lightship. The Wembdon broke up five minutes later.[2]

On 6 February 1906, the Febo of Genoa was en route from Almeria to Glasgow when it ran onto the rock in hazy weather. The crew were saved but the cargo of iron ore sank with the ship.

On 26 December 1906, during a force-8 gale and thick snow, Captain R.C. Begg of the Hazeldene from Cardiff, en route from Horndillo to Glasgow, mistook the South Rock Lightship for the light on the Mull of Galloway and drove his ship on to Cannon Rock. He and his nineteen-man crew were saved but a further load of iron ore was lost.[2]



  1. "Part I, Table 20. List of Sands and Rocks upon which Vessels were Stranded in the Seven Years 1859 to 1865 inclusive". No. 3716: Abstract of the Returns made to the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade of Wrecks and Casualties which occurred on or near the Coasts of the United Kingdom from the 1st January to the 31st December 1865. Accounts and papers. 27: Shipping (United Kingdom) (65 ed.). House of Commons. 1866. p. 40. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Marine disasters on North and South Rocks, Cloughey ] – Cloughey and District Community Association (MS Word)