Cunard has announced it will host an exhibition of Lusitania memorabilia onboard a special cruise of the Queen Victoria cruise ship, which will be visiting Cobh next May to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the torpedoed liner.
Cunard owned the Lusitania which was sunk by a German U-boat off Kinsale on May 7, 1915, with the loss of 1,198 passengers.
The luxurious Queen Victoria liner will depart from Southampton on May 3 for the ‘Lusitania Remembered’ cruise and will arrive in Cobh on May 7.
Her passengers have been invited to a special service of remembrance which will be held in the Cork harbour town.
Cobh Tourism has set up a number of events to commemorate the sinking. Many of the victims are buried in the town.
The first event will be held on New Year’s Day on the town’s promenade at 4.30pm.
Cobh Tourism chairman Hendrick Verwey said the planned ceremony “will culminate in the firing of flares from Spike Island to symbolise the loss of so many innocent victims within sight of the Irish coastline”. The main ceremonies will be held on May 7 to mark the anniversary of the sinking.
“There will be a ceremony in the Old Church Cemetery in the morning followed by a large event in the centre of Cobh at lunchtime. President Michael D Higgins will hopefully be in attendance,” he said.
As the sun sets that day, shortly after 9pm, a flotilla of boats will leave from Cobh, heading towards Roche’s Point to reenact the rescue attempt and search for bodies 100 years earlier.
“The use of searchlights, flares and the white lights on the boats themselves will provide a poignant and memorable spectacle,” said Mr Verwey.
The funerals of the dead who were landed in Cobh took place on May 10, 1915.
On the same date next year, a special commemoration mass will be held at noon in St Colman’s Cathedral. At 3pm, there will be a reenactment of the funeral procession to the Old Church Cemetery from the centre of Cobh.
Mr Verwey said that throughout that week there would also be a number of photo exhibitions, lectures and film screenings to commemorate the sinking.
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