8 April 2015
By Bryan Smyth
The centenary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania* by a German U-boat
off the coast of Cork, Ireland, during the WW1, takes place next
month, on May 7th.
Four coastal communities in Co. Cork, Kinsale, The Old Head, Cobh and
Courtmacsherry, are commemorating the centenary with a number of
events, entitled Lusitania100 Cork, in association with Cork County
They 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, comfort the
bereaved, and recover the dead, in ordinary fishing boats and
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 2.10 pm on May 7th, 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 Kinsale will re-enact the aftermath inquest with descendants of
the 1915 jury. Cobh will remember their rescue efforts with a
twilight Flotilla of work boats, fishing boats and pleasure craft,
each illuminated with white lights, and they will also re-enact the
Mass Funeral procession.
A free open air tribute concert encompassing music from Cork’s Harbour
will take place on Cobh’s Promenade on May 7th, a perfect vantage
point to view the twilight Flotilla.
Cunard is sending the Queen Victoria on a special cruise to
commemorate the event and the ship will have 2,300 passengers docking
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.
Eventually the Museum will also host an iconic piece of sculpture with
the names of all who sailed on the Lusitania on May 7th 1915. A new
Lusitania Exhibition has also opened at the Queenstown Story at Cobh
In the run up to the centenary, all four communities are hosting
Lusitania related lectures, talks, photographic and memorabilia
exhibitions. Kinsale History Society, The Old Head Lusitania
commemoration group and Port of Cork have also 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, the restored Signal Tower
and Cobh Maritime Building over the commemoration week.