In July 1852, Dublin had two sky ship incidents. The first took place on 5 July.
On Monday evening last a phenomenon, rarely if ever seen in these countries, was distinctly visible to a number of inhabitants of Upper and Lower Temple-Street at a quarter past eight o’clock, the sun then shining bright, and the sky perfectly cloudless. A large ship, about the size of a seventy-four gun vessel, in full sail, was seen suspended at a considerable height in the air and moving at a rapid pace from S.S.W. to N.N.E. It passed directly over the spire of St. George’s Church. The ship itself, mast, cordage and sails, were as distinct in this phantom ship as if it were a real vessel crossing the channel. After remaining for eight minutes visible it began to grow indistinct until at length it vanished.
Shortly after this incident, a reader of Freeman’s Journal saw three sky ships. Though fascinated by the phenomenon, he was confident there was a simple explanation.
Many of your readers who read an article in a few numbers back respecting the “phantom ship,” observed few evenings since in the heavens, imagined such to be a mere invention, never considering that similar has been witnessed very frequently but in other latitudes; but what was our own astonishment this evening to observe no less that three of these ariel ships immediately over Sandy Cove Point, at an elevation of about fifty feet, in full sail to the south. They were visible for about five or six minutes, and gradually vanished. They appeared to be full rigged ships, with all sails set; it was observed that the sternmost one was more distinct that the other. This was accounted for that a slight haze was passing over them at the moment, the wind blowing gently from the south-east at the time. It occurs to me that, on inquiry I shall find that, about this time, forty-five minutes past six, three such vessels were starting down channel, and from the peculiar state of the atmosphere were refracted. In the olden time it was supposed strange sights in the heavens forboded good or evil, and was looked on in those bygone times as such, but now that these strange things can be accounted for, an occurrence similar to what I have described creates in the mind of the observer a feeling of astonishment only. However, if strange events come on us, I trust they will be beneficial to our country.
- Limerick and Clare Examiner, 7 July 1852
- Freeman’s Journal, 15 July 1852