Past Tsunamis

Past tsunami’s in the North East Atlantic


According to Professor Mike Williams of NUI Galway, Ireland had been hit by 2 tsunamis in the past 300 years.


Such a statistic may not emphasise the threat that such natural disasters pose to us, but the very fact that Ireland has experienced tsunamis in the past may come as a shock to most.


Many would view such natural disasters in the context of distant countries of the pacific, but there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that Ireland has been hit by such giant waves in the past, and could be affected again in the not too distant future.


Lisbon 1755…

Undoubtedly the best documented case of a tsunami that effected Ireland

was that triggered by the 1755 earthquake that stuck 200km south west

of Cape Vincent in Portugal. The quake measured 8.6 on the Richter scale

and sent waves with a maximum height of 18m (60ft) crashing into coastlines.

Lisbon was devastated by fire and water, but effects of the waves were felt

as far away as Ireland.

Reports from the Clare champion state that ‘deep and yawning chasms’ were carved out

along the Clare coastline at Killomoran, Caherglissane, Gort and Kinvara,

acting as testament of the great Lisbon earthquake. A castle at Coranroe on the north coast of Clare was also destroyed. There exists a wealth of local folklore surrounding the event.


A local miller was said to have called upon both God and the Devil to help him to grind his corn, as there was not enough water for the mill to operate. It being all saints day (November 1), when the man should not have been working in the first place, and for his blasphemy, the great wave came in, drowning the miller and destroying the mill, the ruins of which remain outside Kinvara.


The Spanish Arch in Galway (Pictured Below) was said to have been partially destroyed as a result of the waves and Cork harbour is also said to have been effected. In England, official records state that a 12ft wave struck the town of Cornwall following the earthquake.

Other mysterious reports from western islands off Ireland would also suggest devastating tsunami activity…