The Lusitania Peace Memorial is located in the centre of Casement Square in Cobh County Cork Ireland. It is a magnificent structure displaying the artistic genius of Jerome Connor. He sculpted the life size images of the Angel of Peace and the two exhausted and weeping fishermen.

Dedication of the Lusitania Memorial

The memorial is dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the sinking of RMS Lusitania during the First World War. She was a Cunard passenger ship. The memorial also expresses gratitude to the fishermen of the locality who saved so many lives and a desire for universal peace.

The Sinking of RMS Lusitania 

On the 7th May 1915 RMS Lusitania was on a voyage from New York to Liverpool England. The vessel had crossed the Atlantic Ocean and was just off the coast of County Cork near the Old Head of Kinsale. About 20 minutes after 2pm in the afternoon, the ship was struck by a torpedo fired by a German Submarine. There was an initial explosion which was followed by a second explosion, immediately causing the ship to keel over to starboard. There was little time to launch the lifeboats. Only six were successfully deployed. The whole ship slipped beneath the waves eighteen minutes later. 1201 passengers and crew were lost that day.

The Rescue of the victims

Many local fishermen in the locality witnessed the sinking and immediately went to the aid of the victims. Despite the threat from the active submarine, they worked relentlessly to save as many people as possible from drowning. Initially they were bringing people to the nearby town of Kinsale. However, the British Admiralty intervened and directed all boats with survivors and bodies to land at Cobh. The town at that time was called Queenstown. Of the hundreds of bodies landed at Cobh, one hundred and seventy-three of them are buried in the Old Church cemetery just outside the town.

A book by Dr Michael Martin provides extraordinary insights into the whole incident and its portrayal. It is entitled ‘RMS Lusitania, it wasn’t and it didn’t’, (Dublin, 2014).

The Lusitania Museum can also be visited at the Old Head of Kinsale


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