Amid winds howling at 60 mph, the inhabitants of remote Inis Oirr struggled against blinding sand and slick, seaweed-covered terrain to rescue the men of the distressed MV Plassy.
The steam trawler, carrying a puzzling cargo of yarn, stained glass, and whiskey had lost its battle with the storm and ended up becoming intimately acquainted with Finnis Rock.
Using a breeches buoy fired by a rocket, the islanders managed to rescue all 11 of the crew members from certain death in the icy Atlantic, and as soon as they were hauled to shore the men were given whiskey to warm their bones. Fresh local garb was handed out; a very specific and fancy regional style that the seamen might not have been caught dead wearing in a less dire situation.
Their feet on steady ground and their soggy paychecks in hand, the crewmen of the MV Plassy did what most men would do after such a sudden and dramatic brush with death – they found the island pub and drank the village dry. A few days later the storm delivered the Plassy onto the shore, and soon the locals began to strip and salvage from her, making off with wool, lumber and doors for construction, and a stash of Black & White scotch discovered hidden under the potato patches.
While the ship was stripped of everything that wasn’t nailed down, the shell of the wreck remains; a tourist attraction and questionable play structure for island youngsters. While some would like to see it removed, many feel there’s nothing left to salvage and it should remain as a symbol of the lives saved that ill-fated night.
Fans of the TV Comedy “Father Ted” will recognize the Plassy from the program’s opening credits sequence.
Know Before You Go
The MV Plassey is located on Inisheer, the smallest of the Aran Islands at the mouth of Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland