A refitted and refurbished 1100-tonne La Trinidad Valencera captained by Don Alonso de Luzon was one of the larger Armada transports.
On board she carried three large siege guns donated by Philip II of Spain, made for him by the noted Belgian gunsmith Remigy de Halut in 1556. she also carried a ceramic firepot designed to be crammed with flammable material and thrown amongst the sails of English ships. A shrapnel device and a wooden tube filled with gunpowder. called a bomba. were also amongst her armaments. she had 42 guns, 7 of which have been recovered.
Large and unwieldy, La Trinidad Valencera was the first Armada ship to run aground in Ireland. Badly damaged by heavy seas, she struck a reef in Kinnagoes Bay, near Malin Head, North Donegal on 16th September 1588. De Luzon had to pay the local O’Dohertys 200 ducats to hire boats to bring his men from the stricken vessel. He then marched them overland to a castle where he was told there were Spanish sympathisers. Instead e found the place occupied by Irish mercenaries loyal to the English and there were several minor clashes.
De Luzon was persuaded that if his men laid down their arms they would be taken to the Lord Deputy in Dublin. They did so and were immediately robbed of everything they had including their clothes. The following morning de Luzon and some of his fellow officers worth saving for ransom were separated from the others, who were massacred with lead shot and lances. Over 300 were killed but about 150 managed to escaped to the coast where they got boat to Scotland.
A group of 30 wealthy Spanish prisoners were being sent to England to continue ransom negotiation. They managed to seized control of the ship and sail home to Spain.
The wreck of the Valencera was discovered in February 1971 by members of Derry Sub-Aqua Club.
The Tower Museum in Derry host a historical exhibition “An Armada Shipwreck: La Trinidad Valencera”. The exhibition tells the story of the people involved, the soldiers and sailors aboard the Trinidad Valencera and the divers and archaeologists who discovered and excavated the ship.
An array of exciting artefacts on loan from the Ulster Museum, recovered from the ship includes cannons, textiles, pottery, wooden bowls, pewter dishes, goblets, coins and shoes along with many other items.