Iron screw steamer Adonis, built 1847 J Coutts, Low Walker, Tyne
375 grt, 248 nrt, 171 x 23 x 12.8 ft.
Engines 60 hp by Rennie
Lengthened to 200 ft and engines 100 hp from 1858
Owned Malcolmson, Waterford; registered Waterford.
Voyage Belfast to London via Waterford, general cargo.
4 January 1862, struck on Muglins [Rock off Dalkey island] and drifted off, sinking.
Captain George Spark Silly [b Newfoundland 1821] and 23 crew plus 9 passengers saved in 3 ship's boats.
Wreck drifted offshore before sinking.
A candidate wreck is on the East Codling Bank - described as iron engines and boilers of extent 40m by 12m, charted as least depth 0.6m - (more info)
Coutts pioneered iron shipbuilding - the PS Prince Albert was launched on the Tyne in 1842. The SS Adonis was one of the earliest iron steamships.
From Dundee Courier - Wednesday 08 January 1862
THE LOSS OF THE ADONIS STEAMER The following particulars respecting the wreck of the fine screw steamer Adonis, are derived from the direct personal statement of Captain Silly and the mates of the vessel. It appears that the Adonis left Belfast in good trim and perfect order, on the afternoon of Friday, at three o'clock, bound for London to touch at Waterford, and laden with general cargo. She was a screw steamer of 600 tons burden and 347 tons register, good but not a very new vessel, belonging to the Waterford Steamship Company, Messrs Malcolmson, the chief proprietors, engaged in the Belfast, Waterford, and London trade. In addition to the captain, two mates, two engineers, and eighteen general crew, there were on board the stewardess and nine steerage passengers. With a view to avoiding well the Kish sandbank, which extends to a point not far east of Dalkey Island, and also with a view to keeping in the "smooth water", it appears that the course of the steamer was kept rather close along shore. Exactly at 2.30 a.m., stiff breeze, blowing from the NNW, with the tide on a one hour and thirty minutes' ebb, the Adonis struck the well-known and most dangerous reef of rocks known as the Muglins, which lie to the north of Dalkey Island, and are at high water almost concealed. The concussion is described as having been one of great violence. All the crew and passengers instantly rushed on deck when the vessel struck - the darkness of the night, the white breakers dashing over the sunken reef, and, most appalling of all, the sound of water rushing into a large chasm rent in the fore part of the steamer by the fearful blow on the sharp rocks, combining to create a scene in which terror, confusion, surprise, and dismay alternately predominated for some time after the shock. On the stopping of the engines, the sails caused the steamer to pay off before the wind from the rocks, and so drift away in an easterly direction with wind and tide. By this time the foremost compartment - the vessel being built on the most excellent principle of water-tight compartments - was almost full of water, out of which some of the crew who were below escaped with great difficulty, an aged female being only saved by a man catching her by the hair, and so holding her till assisted. Scarcely had this part of the crew reached the upper deck, when the deck below heaved up, and a torrent of water instantly filled the space, the vessel dipping fully twelve feet forward, her screw becoming thus somewhat lifted from the sea. As the inevitable fate of the ship at this hour (three a m.) became apparent, the captain mustered the crew and passengers aft, and ordered the boats, three in number, to be prepared and lowered. A stiff breeze and somewhat angry sea presented considerable difficulty in lowering away the boats. This, however, having been at last accomplished, nine persons, including one young female passenger, a young lad, and a private of the 26th regiment, succeeded in getting safely into the first. Some eleven persons secured places in the second boat, while the captain, who remained on deck till the last moment, with the remaining persons, including several passengers, got into the third. He then ordered the first two boats to make for the shore, expressing his determination to remain by the now fast sinking steamer till he saw the last of her. At that time she was about five miles east of Bray Head, when, fearing that the tide would drift the boat beyond the possibility of reaching shore, the captain deemed it best to head for the land, leaving two dogs the only living creatures on board the sinking ship, and reached Greystones at eleven o'clock a.m , having lost sight of the Adonis about eight o'clock. The third boatful, consisting of the first mate, the stewardess, and nine men, landed at seven a.m. close to the Killiney railway station. All the castaway passengers and crew were forwarded to Dublin, to the Sailors' Home, by various trains during the day. The Adonis is stated to have been insured, but not to her full value, which is about £8000. - Daily Telegraph.
From Northern Whig - Monday 06 January 1862
The Adonis had unusually large cargo, consisting of provisions, 200 barrels of flaxseed, 20 tons of oatmeal, 40 or 50 tons potatoes, a large quantity of butter, about 30 puncheons of whiskey and come cases wine, 15 tons of rags, 20 to 30 tons of felt, good many boxes of lines and bales of yarns, and other miscellaneous cargo.
From Freeman's Journal - 16,17,18 January 1862
THE LOSS OF THE ADONIS - BOARD OF TRADE INQUIRY. An inquiry ordered by the marine Department of The Board of Trade into the loss of the screw steamer Adonis, of Waterford was reported at length.