Dr John Treacy is a former member of the Irish Naval Service who specialises in 20th Century Irish naval and maritime policy development. John was recently awarded his PhD in History at Mary Immaculate College under the supervision of Dr Maura Cronin. John lectures on Irish naval and defence policy for agencies such as the Maritime Institute, the National Maritime Museum, the Centre for Military History and Strategic Studies at NUI Maynooth and is a regular national and international conference contributor. He was recently appointed Honorary Research Officer at the Maritime Institute and the National Maritime Museum of Ireland. He is the director of the San Marcos Project and the current Chair of the Old Kilfarboy Society in Miltown Malbay. John is currently employed as a civil servant.
‘Another ship is cast in at I Brickane and lost, they had both men and munitions from Flanders’; Searching for the Armada in County Clare.
On 20 September 1588, two ships of the Armada approached the area now known as the Mal Bay on the coast of west Clare. One wrecked early in the afternoon somewhere close to the entrance of the Doonbeg Creek. Word of the disaster quickly reached Nicholas Cahane, the Coroner of Thomond at his castle on Scattery Island. Cahane immediately departed for the scene of the disaster and upon reaching the White Strand at Doonbeg, he observed a second much larger vessel in difficulty to the north, off Mutton Island within sight of the first wreck. Approximately 900 men lost their lives on that afternoon, most washing ashore on the forbidding west Clare coastline. Modern scholarship has attempted to identify the two vessels, largely by process of elimination (cf. Colin Martin & Geoffrey Parker, The Spanish Armada: Revised Edition (Manchester, 1999), p.261; Ken Douglas, The Downfall of the Spanish Armada in Ireland (Dublin, 2010), p.458; Niall Fallon, The Armada in Ireland (London, 1978), pp 36-42). The San Marcos Project seeks to identify these vessels using a combination of folklore, historiographical data, underwater surveying and diving.
Dr John Treacy is the director of the San Marcos Project, the search for the lost Portuguese galleon San Marcos of the 1588 Armada. The San Marcos Project is a community initiative founded in 2014 with the goal of establishing the identity of the ship wrecked at Mutton Island in 1588 and locating the final resting place of her crew. Since it was established, the project has carried out detailed sonar and dive surveys at the Mutton Island site and has conducted a landward archaeo-geophysical survey at the reputed Tuama na Spáinneach burial site at Spanish Point. The discovery of the wrecks and grave, coupled with the consideration of their context in the local geography, should cast a new light on the complex micro and macro political environment in County Clare and Ireland, during the Armada tragedy. John will discuss the reconciliation of folklore and scientific evidence in relation to the County Clare Armada narrative and detail some of the exciting results so far.