The 'Tayleur' wrecked in 1854 in 18m of water off Lambay Island in north Co. Dublin. When it was built, the 'Tayleur' was the largest merchant ship in Britain, it was also one of the first composite ships, with a considerable iron and steel element in its construction. This contributed to its fate, as the compass was not adjusted for the magnetic influence of the vessel itself (other contributory factors were crew training and lack of English).
The 'Tayleur' was one of the first accessible wrecks found by Dublin sports divers when the sport began to take off in the 1970s, and had very large quantities of material removed without the law being broken, until the time there was any degree of interest in underwater archaeology among sports divers.
The 'Tayleur' was an emigrant ship bringing passengers from Liverpool to Australia and really did constitute the time capsule that we often read about in underwater archaeology. According to divers who were among the first to lift material from her, the original cargo included carved chair backs, unassembled shoe parts and blank grave-stones as well as large quantities of pottery and china.
by Deirdre O'Hara, December 1999
rev jan '03
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