Pic: Eoin McGarry
One of the telegraphs from the sunken ship the Lusitania has been recovered from the ocean floor off the coast of Cork. Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD this week confirmed the recovery of the artefact.
The wreck of the Lusitania is owned by Greg Bemis. Dungarvan diver, Eoin McGarry, working under license from the Minister granted under the National Monuments Acts, raised the telegraph from the seabed on Saturday morning. Mr McGarry had undertaken the dive to complete an operation that had previously brought up the pedestal for the bridge telegraph in summer 2016. Mr Bemis and Mr McGarry intend to mount another operation to recover the bridge telegraph next year.
“It is great news that the telegraph was safely on shore and will now be conserved by Mr Bemis, who hopes to place the artefacts recovered from the Lusitania on display locally, which of course would be of great benefit to the people of Kinsale,” said Minister Humphreys.
“I would like to congratulate Mr McGarry and his team for their diligence and success in very difficult recovery efforts, made all the more difficult by weather, tides, and lack of visibility at 90-plus metres. The cooperation from the Minister’s office has been especially appreciated in our efforts on behalf of history and to the ultimate benefit of Ireland,” commented Mr Bemis.
The Lusitania was struck by a torpedo from a German U-boat off the Head of Kinsale on May 7, 1915 while en route from New York to Liverpool. The cause of a second explosion, which resulted in the vessel sinking with the loss of 1198 lives, is still being investigated by Mr Bemis.
As the wreck is over 100 years old, all diving operations on it automatically require a license from the Minister under the National Monuments Act. It is also covered by an Underwater Heritage Order under those Acts because of its international and historical importance.