|Organisation :||Waterford County Museum|
|Article Title :||The Ardmore Journal|
|Page Title :||The Wreck Of The Nellie Fleming|
|Page Number :||2|
|Publication Date :||08 February 2011|
|Expiry Date :||Never Expires|
The Fleming family of Youghal were general merchants, and Martin J Fleming had several ships involved in the coal trade between Bristol Channel ports and the home port of Youghal. One of these vessels was the three masted schooner, the Nellie Fleming, called after his daughter. A sister ship the Kathleen & May was called after the other two daughters in the family, and this vessel was preserved by the Maritime Trust and is now open to the public in London.
In mid December 1913, the Nellie Fleming was on one of her usual trips carrying a cargo of about 250 tons of coal and bound for Youghal. The night was fine with a light easterly breeze but it was very dark with a thick haze prevailing. The ship and her crew sailed along the south coast in very close to the shore and as a result they missed the Light of Mine Head owing to the intervening cliffs. Thinking they had cleared Ardmore Head and seeing the lights in the village they altered course and steered the ship into the bay.
Some Curragh fishermen rowed out and on getting alongside, the skipper and crew were taken aback somewhat to discover their location. No signal of distress was given and the crew stayed on board the vessel hoping to get her off later. The fishermen reported to the Ardmore Coastguards. Mr Bates Chief Officer alerted Youghal and Helvick and the life boats from both places put to sea and made for Ardmore to stand by in case of need. The Ardmore rocket crew went to the scene also and at about 10.30 pm a rocket was fired over the vessel. The crew didn't haul the line however, fearing salvage no doubt. Around midnight Captain Donovan of Youghal and the crew found the water gaining on them had reached the cabin floor and so they used their own boat to come safely ashore at the pier. They later went to Youghal aboard the lifeboat. If the weather had been bad it could have been quite a different story with lives lost.
The Curragh Coal Co-op
Jack Crowley remembers while still at school being sent over to Curragh with three others including John Galvin of Chapel Row with his donkey and cart to get 1/4 ton of coal for the school. Jack still remembers the scene when they arrived over in Curragh.
Down below on the beach lay the wreck of the Nellie Fleming. Up in the corner of a field near the boreen the coal was heaped and was being bagged and weighed. The farmers were there from far and near including old Parish and Grange, buying cart loads of the cheap coal. The lads found themselves left last in the queue, but were not in any hurry back to school.
The Nellie Fleming with her load gone was lifted to the top of the beach by the spring tides and 50 years later some of her ribs were still exposed. She now lies buried in the sand, just below the boreen, at the Ardmore end of Curragh Strand.