A BRONZE sculpture bearing the names of all those who sailed on the Lusitania was a fitting memorial to place at the Old Head of Kinsale to remember both those who died and survived the tragedy, the chairman of the local organising committee told 500 guests at its unveiling ceremony.
Lusitania Museum and Old Head Signal Tower Heritage chairman, JJ Hayes, said that over 30 nationalities were represented on the memorial by artists, Liam Lavery and Eithne Ring, which is located in a memorial garden in front of the Signal Tower on the Old Head of Kinsale.
‘The centre piece of this garden must surely be the 20m-long memorial sculpture, the brainchild of Liam Lavery and Eithne Ring,’ he said.
He explained that, depicting a wave in the ocean, ‘it captures the story of the Lusitania, leaving New York on May 1st 1915, a full week’s voyage across the Atlantic, arriving here off this headland to meet its fate and the lives of 1,191 people cut short, and the lives of survivors marked in a way that still resonates today.’
Mr Hayes said that he was pleased that relatives of more than 30 of the 1,962 people aboard the Lusitania when she was torpedoed by German submarine U20 on May 7th 1915, had seen fit to travel to the Old Head of Kinsale for the memorial unveiling.
Among those who had travelled to the Old Head was John Hereward from Cornwall who recalled that his grandfather, Herbert Ehrhardt was among the lucky 771 passengers and crew who were rescued.
American, Jon Kiger whose grandfather, Albert Jackson Byington was also a survivor, paid tribute to the local committee: ‘We understand very few members of the local community were on the Lusitania, so this garden was carried out for the benefit of those of us with ties to the sinking – it means that have somewhere to stand and reflect upon such an awful tragedy and we can’t thank locals enough.’