How an Irish village erected a monument depicting an 1886 America’s Cup challenger

Galatea sculpture 2009

The Galatea monument, Ballynacally

I’ve just heard from a descendant of the skipper of the Galatea that the people of the Irish village of Ballynacally have recently celebrated the unveiling of a monument depicting the 1886 America’s Cup racing yacht.

The great-granddaughter of Galatea skipper Daniel Bradford, Mrs Barbara Caveney (nee Bradford) reports that the sculpture was unveiled in a village playground by Brigadier Frank Henn, a relation of William Henn, who with his wife owned the Galatea from 1885. The village was also presented with a print depicting the Galatea racing against the American challenger the Mayflower.

Mrs Caveney was very surprised but absolutely delighted when someone in the village sent her information and photos of the event after reading about the Galatea at – the post included an appeal from her for information about the her great grandfather, the racing yacht and the family who owned her.

See the original post including and the photos from Jeff Cole’s collection here. I should explain that the Galatea didn’t win the America’s Cup, but the Henns became famous hosts aboard their yacht, which surprisingly wasn’t in fact designed to be an out-and-out racer.

But what was the connection between the little Irish village and the America’s Cup yacht? Mrs Caveney explains:

‘Ballynacally on the West Coast of Ireland is the place where Lft William Henn RN of Galatea fame was born, and is buried in the family graveyard of Paradise House.

In 1885 his wife Susan Henn commissioned J Beavor-Webb to design the Galatea to be built.

There is a lot of information in the archives of the New York Times archives on the lead up to the famous America Cup race in 1886 where Galatea was beaten by Mayflower. My great-grandfather’s name appears quite frequently in the write-ups. He lived in Devon.

The Henns lived on board the Galatea, which was not built to be a racing yacht. There are great pictures of the inside of the yacht in a book by Ian Dear.

Lft Henn unfortunately became ill and died at the young age of 44 in 1894.
From what I can ascertain from the internet, Mrs Susan Henn continued to live on Galatea after her husband`s death.

Skipper Bradford helped her look after the yacht until he dropped dead on board the yacht in Dartmouth Harbour in April 1902 at the age of 52 years.

Mrs Henn I believe continued to live on board the yacht until her death in 1911. The following year the yacht was broken up in Plymouth.

Going back to Ballynacally, apparently the Henn family were very helpful to the people of the village, and this is why the Balnacally Development Association decided to erect the plinth showing the Galatea out of respect to the kindness of the family.

I will add I found most of this information from the Internet in recent years – when I started researching my family history all I knew was that I had a great grandfather who was the skipper on a famous yacht called the Galatea.

Hope this has been helpful.

Regards Barbara C’

That’s very helpful indeed – thank you Mrs Caveney!

If anyone else has information relating to the Galatea, Daniel Bradford or the Henns, I’d sure Mrs Caveney would be very pleased to hear from them. Her email address is in the comments at the end of the original post linked above.

Print of Mayflower & Galatea presented to Ballynacally Aug 09

The start of the first race for the America’s Cup, September 7th 1886, painted by Admiral Richard Brydges Beechey, RN

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