Wednesday 24 April 2019

Cross erected in memory of Blake heroes

The cross erected on the Keeragh Islands
The cross erected on the Keeragh Islands

Over a century after their death, nine men who drowned in one of Ireland's worst sea disasters off the Co Wexford coast have been remembered with a cross erected on the Keeragh Islands in their honour.

The nine men were part of the crew of the Helen Blake lifeboat which sank in 1914. Although the relief fund set up following the disaster provided headstones for the men, and paid for a monument in Fethrd-on-Sea, until now there has been nothing on the Keeraghs where the tragedy took place.

'It's sad that there was no memorial there to recognise their sacrifice and it's something we wanted to put right,' said Joanne Waters, who made the cross together with John Colfer and Gary Lacey, three of the people working on the replica of the lifeboat.

The metre high cross, made from Azobe hardwood, is inscribed with the lifeboat's name and the date of the disaster and can be seen clearly from the sea around the islands.

Those who lost their lives in the tragedy were Christopher Bird, William Bird, Thomas Handrick, Michael Handrick, Patrick Cullen, Patrick Roche, Patrick Stafford, James Morrissey and William Banville, all from Fethard on Sea.

New Ross Standard