Shipwreck Poem: ‘The Mary Snow’

The best thing about this blog has been all the fantastic shipwreck “stuff” that readers like you pass along. It’s amazing how much is out there, from songs and images to prose and poetry. Just last week J. G. Burdette passed along this great shipwreck song and Maria McKinney, from the breathtaking Inishowen in Donegal, Ireland, passed along the poem below. We can’t find who penned these lines (if you know tell us!), but that doesn’t distract from this classic description of Malin Head, one of the Northern Hemisphere’s most renown ship traps in all its murderous glory. Get ready for rhyming couplets, treacherous pilots, false lights and hatchet-wielding wreckers. Enjoy–and please keep sending along all that great shipwreck stuff you stumble upon!

The Mary Snow

It was our ship the “Mary Snow” how proudly did she sail,
Across the western ocean before a pleasant gale.
From Virginia with tobacco and strong liquor loaded down,
Her course set sail from Malin Head to Londonderry Town.

They hoved her too off Malin Head her sails they dare not fill,
For they sorely need a pilot to the harbour of Moville.
The captain makes a signal his wishes for the show,
And soon a pilot comes aboard the gallant “Mary Snow”.

And in the midnight darkness I heard that pilot say,
“Fill your sails and steer your ship to Glenagivney Bay”.
For the pilot Barney D – how little did they know,
Would wreck the ship and sell the loot from the gallant “Mary Snow”.

Upon the shore a light is seen a ship it seems to be,
It rocks just like a ship would rock that sails upon the sea.
But on a lame horse on the coast that pilot well did know,
A light was placed for to deceive and wreck the “Mary Snow”.

Upon the rocks the ship is cast she’ll sail the seas no more,
The captain and his gallant crew in vain they reach the shore.
But it’s on the rocks they tried to climb for safety to the land,
The Long Glen men with hatchets cut the fingers from their hands.

There was a man named Leepore from the near Redcastle Strand,
Who was returning home again to view his nature land.
Ere little he thought that evening’s light had turned to morning glow,
He would be dead upon the rocks beside the “Mary Snow”.

Now all you born sea-faring men a warning take this day,
And never dare to sail your ship to Glenagivney Bay.
For the Long Glen men still lie in wait I’ll have you all to know,
With hatchets still they lie in wait as on the “Mary Snow”.

So when you come to Malin Head make neither stop nor stay.
But sail your ship to Quigley’s Point or Londonderry Quay.
For the Long Glen men still lie in wait I’ll have you all to know,
With hatchets still they lie in wait as on the “Mary Snow”



Filed under Along the Coast, Shipwreck culture

7 responses to “Shipwreck Poem: ‘The Mary Snow’

  1. I’m not into poems but that is a vivid one. I just heard a wonderful shipwreck song on an alternative radio station and wanted so badly to get the name for you, but never did. I may have to call the station and find out.

  2. Pingback: Poem ships | Yship

  3. Pingback: Mary Snow |

  4. I came to here through ‘ Kurungabaa ‘ they have a bloke running that ship by name of SimonO …. He likes the Mary Snow too.

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