This steel steamship was launched in 1924 by the Ardrossan Dockyard & Shipbuilding Company Ltd., (Yard No.329) as the Lady Limerick for her owners the British & Irish Steam Packet Company of Dublin. She was a general cargo-passenger steamship and her dimensions were 287.0’ x 21.6’ x 9.4’, she weighed in at 1945 grt. Powered by a single 4-cylinder triple expansion steam engine of 336 nhp she had a top speed of 14 knots. She changed owners in April 1930 when she was transferred to Burns & Laird Lines and renamed Lairdscastle, she remained in their ownership until her loss.
The Lairdscastle was on her regular run from Glasgow to Belfast on 4thSeptember 1940 when she was in collision with a large steamship the Vernon City owned by Messers Reardon Smith. The collision was reported to have taken place between Ailsa Craig and Sanda but did not appear in the national press until 10thSeptember, due to wartime restrictions.
The 101 passengers and crew managed to abandon ship safely and were later picked up by a Royal Navy vessel that was in the vicinity. The Lairdscastle remained afloat for around 3 hours. The cause of the collision was put down to the reduced lighting vessels were displaying during the war.
The wreck of the Lairdscastle lies in position 55°11.466’N, 005°31.367’W. As can be seen from the chart she lies south of Sanda Island off the Mull of Kintyre, and may have drifted west with the tide from the original site of the collision. The wreck remains upright and intact and sits in seabed depths of around 88-89 metres, rising around 10 metres above seabed. The wreck sits in an area of strong tidal flow and is a slack water dive, although the visibility may be good the conditions will generally be dark. The top of the wreck has a lot of net, ropes and floats suspended above it, rising 5-10 metres above the top. This is a challenging dive and not to be taken lightly.