The Lusitania Peace Memorial in Cobh: wreaths will be laid here by President Michael D. Higgins, together with the British, German and US ambassadors (Photo: courtesy of Visitcobh/Lusitania100Cork)

Irish President leads Lusitania tributes in Cobh on May 7

Date of Event: 07 May 2015
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Four coastal communities in Ireland are coming together on May 7th 2015 to remember the 1,200 passengers and crew who died when the Cunard liner, Lusitania, was torpedoed by a German submarine on this day in 1915.

Kinsale town, the Old Head of Kinsale, Cobh (formerly Queenstown) and Courtmacsherry in County Cork all witnessed the disaster and its aftermath first-hand.  

Ireland's President, Michael D. Higgins, will lead the centenary commemorations in Cobh, accompanied by the British, German and American ambassadors, and representatives of the Cunard cruise line.

Remembrance at sea

The RNLI's Courtmacsherry lifeboat will put to sea to lay a wreath at the site of the Lusitania's wreck,18 kilometres (11 miles) off the southern Irish coast.

The ceremony at 2.10pm marks the moment U-20's torpedo struck the liner on her voyage from New York to Liverpool. 

Schoolchildren in Courtmacsherry will release 1,201 balloons, each bearing the name of a Lusitania victim.

In Kinsale, schools will observe a minute's silence while church bells ring.

At the main remembrance event on Cobh's promenade, President Michael D. Higgins will pay tribute to the victims and the local people who set out in fishing boats and lifeboats to rescue survivors and recover the dead 100 years ago.

Cobh: Remembrance service at the Lusitania Peace Memorial  in 2013 (Photo: courtesy of Visitcobh/Lusitania100Cork)

President Higgins will lay a wreath at the Lusitania monument, joined by the British Ambassador to Ireland, Dominick Chilcott, and his German and US counterparts, Matthias Hopfner and Kevin O'Malley.     

Cunard's cruise ship, Queen Victoria, will be in port as part of the commemorations. Its whistle will sound at 2.28pm, marking the time the Lusitania sank. After a minute's silence, the Queen Victoria's captain will recite the 'Ode of Remembrance.

Graveyard ceremony

The Cunard Chairman, David Dingle, will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Old Church Graveyard in Cobh, where almost 200 Lusitania victims are buried. 

Lectures and musical performances will also be taking place during the day.

A flotilla of small boats, illuminated with white lights, will sail towards Cobh in the evening, symbolising the return of the first rescue boats with victims and survivors a century ago.

RMS Lusitania, nicknamed the 'Lusy' by those who sailed on her, was torpedoed in coastal waters which had been declared a war zone by the Germans in response to the British naval blockade of Germany. Ireland was part of the United Kingdom during the First World War.

More than 100 of the dead were Americans, provoking a diplomatic row between the neutral United States and Germany.

Details of all events can be found on the Lusitania100Cork website.

Information & images supplied by Visitcobh/Lusitania100Cork

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

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