In Courtmacsherry Bay is the old British Royal Navy watch
tower of the Seven Heads peninsula, the closest point of land to the
Lusitania tragedy at 11.2 nautical miles. Courtmacsherry Harbour is also home to the oldest
lifeboat station in Ireland founded in 1825, and at the time of the
Lusitania tragedy, located at Barry’s Point, Courtmacsherry.
On May 7th 1915, the Lusitania, a British Cunard line ocean
liner was on passage from New York when she was torpedoed and sunk by a
German U-boat south of Courtmacsherry Bay, with the loss of 1201 lives. The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew was alerted to the tragedy
and, because of very fine weather that day the sails were of no use so
they rowed the Kezia Gwilt Lifeboat to the scene of the sinking.
Courtmacsherry RNLI crew
have formed a Committee to organise events
to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania and to
remember the tragic loss of life and the gallant efforts of those
including Courtmacsherry lifeboat crew who responded in selfless
determination that fateful day to save life.
The commemoration will be held on the May Bank
holiday weekend 2015 with the centrepiece being a Lusitania Exhibition
Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Station and the local Community Hall.
Check out the Events page
details of all planned events, or
to download a .pdf of the schedule. Click here
for details of the
Centenary Commemeration Dinner.
To coincide with the exhibition, the local lifeboat crew will re-enact
the call to service, on the 3rd May 2015 at 11am
from Blind Strand
. and row the same arduous 12 Nautical Miles out to
the site of the disaster
To perform this re-enactment, the crew of
Courtmacsherry RNLI researched and secured the use of the restored
Pulling & Sailing Ryder Lifeboat from 1902, courtesy of the
Lifeboat Trust, UK
. We welcome representatives of the Polperro
Trust to Courtmacsherry and their support and invaluable contribution to
this re-enactment is greatly appreciated. The current Courtmacsherry
Lifeboat crew along with descendants of the 1915 crew trained throughout
the winter, with help from the local
Courtmacsherry Rowing Club
, and will lead this
re-enactment row.The direct descendants of the Lifeboat crew of 1915 will narrate the
story. Over 100 people, incl. 20
schoolchildren from Barryroe school will take part in this dramatised
production which lasts about 50 minutes. "It has been a wonderful
privilege working closely with these family members, with the RNLI crew,
the rowing club, the choirs, the schoolchildren and the entire Barryroe
community. The dedication and enthusiasm for this project has been both
heart-warming and moving."
-Angela Veldman O’Donovan Producer /
to see a Google Map of the route from Blind Strand to the
“Ryder” is a restored Pulling & Sailing (non-motorised) lifeboat built
in 1902 and very similar to the “Kezia Gwilt” lifeboat that was
stationed at Courtmacsherry in 1915.
to see pictures.
The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat
centenary committee comprises of current regular crew members of the
local all-weather Lifeboat, the Frederick Storey Cockburn who themselves
volunteer to save lives at sea.
We are appealing for artefacts,
stories and memorabilia to be part of our exhibitions. We would love to
hear from any family members of those lost or saved in the Lusitania
tragedy to share their stories with us, which will then be compiled and
included in the exhibition. Anyone with stories, memorabilia or
artefacts for the exhibition is requested to please contact the
Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station at
. All memorabilia or artefacts loaned
for the exhibition will be receipted by our committee curator and
returned to their owners after the exhibition.
Lusitania Centenary commemorations will also be
held in other locations in the local area. These include the
Cobh Lusitania Centenary Commemorations
Old Head of Kinsale Lusitania Museum Signal Tower
Kinsale Town Commerations
. Please see the Visit Cork County website
for more information on all the planned commerations.