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Commemorative plaque Spanish Armada Vessel 'La Trinada Valencera' Glenagivney Moville Inishowen Co Donegal

Photograph taken from Derry Journal
2nd September 2008

Bronze Siege Gun from La Trinidad Valencera found in Kinnego Bay Inishowen Co Donegal

Taken from '
Ancient Monuments of Inishowen, North Donegal'
By Sean Beattie



La Trinidad Valencera

Trinidad Valencera was one of five Venetian traders requisitioned by Spanish authorities in Sicily for use as an armed transport with the Spanish Armada. At 1100 tons, this was one of the largest ships in the fleet. Over the objections of her merchant captain Horatio Donai, she was fitted with twenty-eight bronze guns. When the fleet sailed, she was the most heavily armed ship in Martin de Bertendona's Levant Squadron, which included ten converted merchant ships from the Mediterranean. In addition to her own armament, she carried four of the King's guns, and a complement of 79 seaman, 281 Neapolitan soldiers, and a cadre of officers.

During the Armada campaign, Trinidad Valencera (a Spanish corruption of her Venetian name, Balanzara) saw action off Portland Bill (August 1-2), the Isle of Wight (August 2-3), and in the crucial rearguard action fought at the Battle of Gravelines on August 7-9, just before the Armada sailed into the North Sea for the brutal return to Spain. On about August 20, Trinidad Valencera, Gran Grifón, and two other hulks separated from the main fleet off northern Scotland; none would return to Spain. On September 12, Trinidad Valencera was caught in a storm off the north coast of Ireland and, leaking badly, came to anchor in Kinnagoe Bay on the 14th. Two days later, she split in two and sank. Most of the ship's company seem to have made it safely to shore, but several days later they were tricked into laying down their weapons. Stripped of their clothes and other possessions by a nominally inferior force, three hundred of the soldiers and sailors were killed by an Anglo-Irish force under Richard and Henry Hovenden. Thirty-two of the surviving crew eventually made it to Scotland and, with safe passage from James VI, on to France. The officers were marched to Dublin, where all but two were murdered on orders from the Lord Deputy, Sir William Fitzwilliam.

The wreck of "La Trinidad Valencera" was discovered by the City of Derry Sub-Aqua Club in 1971. As the crew had removed what they could from the ship, there are few substantial artifacts. Chief among them are the ship's guns, which have added considerably to the knowledge of naval gunnery in the sixteenth century. In addition, there are ship's fittings, a few dislocated structural timbers, and pieces of rigging and other cordage.

A plaque which commemorates the 400 Anniversary of the Armada was erected in Kinnagoe Bay by Bord Failte, Donegal/Leitrim/Sligo Regional Tourism Organisation and Donegal County Council in 1988.

Top Photograph - Viewing the new commemorative plaque to mark the sinking of the Spanish Armada Vessel 'La Trinidad Valencera' at Glenagivney, outside Moville are Senor Nichola Pasqual, the first secretary at the Spanish Embassy, Dublin, who performed the unveiling, Mr John Hume MP, MEP and Mr Brendan Keaveney, Vice Chairman of Donegal/Sligo/Leitrim Tourism. (Sept 1988).

2nd Photograph - Bronze Siege Gun from La Trinidad Valencera, found in Kinnego Bay, now in Derry Museum. Shows arms of Philip II of Spain.


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Supported by the NE Inishowen Company.