Friday 28 July 2017

Memorial garden opens to honour the victims of Lusitania disaster

Relatives of victim May Barrett, great-granddaughter Amy McCarthy and grandson Declan Keegan at the opening of the Lusitania Memorial Garden Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Relatives of victim May Barrett, great-granddaughter Amy McCarthy and grandson Declan Keegan at the opening of the Lusitania Memorial Garden Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A memorial garden complete with a 20-metre long bronze sculpture has been unveiled to honour the victims of one of the worst maritime disasters off the Irish coast.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney formally dedicated the Lusitania Memorial Garden at the Old Head of Kinsale in Cork to mark the anniversary of the sinking of the liner during World War I. "I think this is a very significant memorial to mark a hugely significant event," said Mr Coveney, who praised the memorial as "very tasteful and sensitive" and which effectively marks the start of the Wild Atlantic Way.

The Lusitania Memorial Garden at Old Head of Kinsale, Co Cork Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
The Lusitania Memorial Garden at Old Head of Kinsale, Co Cork Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

RMS Lusitania sank off the Cork coast after being torpedoed by the German submarine U-20 on May 7, 1915, with the loss of 1,198 lives.

The sinking, which was instrumental in bringing the United States into World War I, was witnessed by horrified onlookers from the Old Head.

Despite a huge rescue effort from Cork, Kinsale, Cobh and Courtmacsherry, only 764 of the 1,962 passengers and crew were saved. Of the 764 saved, three died from their injuries within days.

Two years ago, thousands gathered in Kinsale and Cobh to mark the centenary of the sinking. The Old Head of Kinsale event was attended yesterday my many descendants of those who were involved in the 1915 tragedy, including Jan Miles from Brisbane.

Minister Simon Coveney and Cork Mayor Seamus McGrath at the event. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Minister Simon Coveney and Cork Mayor Seamus McGrath at the event. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The 20-metre long bronze sculpture entitled 'The Wave', by artists Liam Lavery and Eithne Ring, explains the tragic story of the great liner on its final journey from New York to Ireland where it was torpedoed just hours from the safety of Cork harbour.

Irish Independent

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