Commemorative Titanic cruise to dock at Cobh, 100 years on
Preparations are continuing in Cobh, Co Cork, to welcome a 100th anniversary commemorative cruise retracing the voyage of the ill-fated Titanic in 1912.
The cruise, which has been completely sold out, will depart from Southampton on April 8 next year with 1,300 passengers from 22 different countries, including 35 from Ireland.
Cobh -- then Queenstown -- is famed for being the last port-of-call for Titanic after she set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton for New York city on April 10, 1912.
Titanic took on mail and 123 passengers in Cobh, of whom only 44 survived the sinking. The Irish dead were among the 1,517 people who perished in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
The memorial voyage will set sail from Southampton on April 8, 2012, for a 12-night cruise on board the MS Balmoral. The cruise will follow Titanic's original itinerary, passing by Cherbourg on the French coast before calling into Cobh.
From Cobh, the ship will sail across the Atlantic, arriving at the Titanic site on April 14/15, exactly 100 years after the ill-fated voyage. A special memorial service will be held to pay tribute to the brave passengers and crew who perished on that fateful night.
The voyage will then continue to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the final resting place of many who were on board, before continuing on to New York, Titanic's planned destination.
Local historian, author and 23-year veteran of the Irish Navy, Dr Michael Martin, will travel on the cruise as one of three historian/lecturers.
Dr Martin is also the central figure liaising with the cruise organisers as they finalise details of the ship's visit to Cobh.
"Personally I am looking forward to the cruise. I will be delivering lectures on Titanic's links with Cobh. This visit will also be a great addition to Cobh's plans to commemorate the centenary of the Titanic disaster. We are having a meeting with the cruise organisers in the coming weeks where we will discuss plans," Dr Martin added.
Cruise organiser Miles Morgan said: "We have secured the Fred Olsen Cruise Liner MS Balmoral for the trip. Fred Olsen's current involvement with Harland and Wolff, where the Titanic was constructed, made them the obvious choice linking past and present."
Another Irish connection to the Titanic was the chairman and managing director of the White Star Line, which owned the ship, J Bruce Ismay, who survived the disaster and became known as "the coward of the Titanic".
He moved to Ireland in disgrace in the mid-Twenties and spent most of the rest of his life in Costelloe Lodge, near the village of Costelloe, in Connemara, Co Galway.