West Cork remembers The Lusitania

luisitania 100 launch

Posted on: 7th April, 2015

Category: Headlines

Contributor: West Cork People

This May, four coastal communities in County Cork are coming together to host a series of commemorative events, entitled ‘Lusitania100 Cork’, to mark the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by a German U-boat off the coast of Cork, Ireland, during the First World War. The Lusitania was en route to Liverpool from New York and 1,201 people lost their lives in the tragedy.

Kinsale, The Old Head, Cobh and Courtmacsherry, in association with Cork County Council, will pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in 1915 and remember the gallant efforts of their ancestors who responded with great courage and compassion to rescue survivors, the bereaved, and recover the dead, in ordinary fishing boats and lifeboats. These communities witnessed first-hand the trauma and heartbreak of the disaster.

The Old Head of Kinsale is the point from which the Lusitania took her final bearing on May 7, 1915 and is the most prominent accessible point of land to the ship’s final resting place, which is just over eleven miles due south of the Old Head Lighthouse.

The old British Royal Navy Watch Tower of the Seven Heads peninsula in Courtmacsherry Bay is the closest point of land to the Lusitania wreck, and also home to the oldest RNLI Lifeboat Station in Ireland, which was instrumental in the aftermath of the disaster.

The mass grave at the Old Church Graveyard on the Great Island of Cobh was the final resting-place of the dead, and to this day there are remains that have never been named or claimed.

The commemorations for Lusitania100 Cork are vast and will include Wreath Laying Ceremonies with President Michael D. Higgins in Cobh, and Minister Simon Coveney at the Lusitania Monument on the Old Head, both at 2.10pm on May 7, the time the tragedy happened.

A number of re-enactments of the tragedy will also take place. Courtmacsherry will recreate the call to service of the RNLI lifeboat, while Cobh will remember their rescue efforts with a twilight Flotilla of work boats, fishing boats and pleasure craft, each illuminated with white lights. Cobh will also re-enact the Mass Funeral procession, and Kinsale town is recreating the aftermath Inquest with descendants of the 1915 Jury.

The Old Head Signal Tower (and the associated Flag-and-Ball signalling system) is being restored and transformed into a Lusitania Museum, with plans to exhibit artefacts recovered from the wreck. This will be officially opened on May 7.  Eventually the Museum will also host an iconic piece of sculpture with the names of all who sailed on the Lusitania on May 7, 1915. A new Lusitania Exhibition also opened at the Queenstown Story at Cobh Heritage Centre on March 25.

In addition, all four communities will host Lusitania related lectures, talks, photographic exhibitions, memorabilia and street fairs, and centenary commemoration dinners. A free openair tribute concert encompassing music from Cork’s Harbour will also take place on Cobh’s Promenade on May 7, a perfect vantage point to view the twilight Flotilla.

Kinsale History Society and Port of Cork have both launched schools initiatives, encouraging primary and secondary students to study Lusitania and submit Lusitania projects, essays and art for display at the Temperence Hall in Kinsale town Centre and Cobh Maritime Building over the commemoration week.

For more information on Lusitania100 Cork see the schedule below or visit www.visitcorkcounty.com/Lusitania100Cork, @LusitaniaCork on Twitter, or @Lusitania100Cork on Facebook.

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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