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Treasured US family heirloom joins Lusitania museum exhibit in Kinsale

March 25th, 2022 10:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

Jackie holding a photo of her grandmother Alice and the money belt, which is going on show in the museum.

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A MONEY belt worn by a woman who almost drowned on the Lusitania is going on display in the museum at the Old Head of Kinsale signal tower, in time for the coming season.

The treasured family heirloom was donated to the museum by an American lady whose grandmother survived the sinking of the Lusitania.

In a recent Nationwide special on the Lusitania Museum & Old Head Signal Tower, an emotional Jackie McDougall Weiner recalled her cherished childhood memories of her grandmother, Alice, talking about her extraordinary experience.

On May 7th 1915, Alice Middleton McDougall was dragged down with the suction of the Lusitania, and pulled through a porthole, injuring her neck. Her unconscious body was rescued and brought to Cobh, but believed to be dead, she was placed in the morgue. Fortunately, the slight movement of her finger was observed by a doctor and Alice went on to live a long life, even appearing on the NBC Television show This is Your Life in 1956 speaking about the Lusitania tragedy.

Last year, Jackie made the decision to donate an item of clothing worn by her grandmother on that fateful day to the Lusitania museum, after making contact with the Committee online.

‘I took her money belt, I wrapped and took it to the post office. It was a very difficult thing to do.

‘ I was relieved when Padraig Begley vice chair of the Lusitania Museum & Old Head Signal Tower Committee contacted me to say he had indeed received it,’ said Jackie, speaking from Oregon, United States.

‘What the people at the museum in Kinsale are doing is trying to expand and make it very special.

‘Anyone can look up facts, we need to keep the emotional story alive and there are many of us alive now that have heard the stories first hand from those who experienced it.

‘My dream is to get there someday,’ she said.

The money belt is now on display alongside a poem written by Alice about the sinking.

The Lusitania Museum & Old Head Signal Tower will be open to the public seven days a week from St Patrick’s Day.

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