A series of events will take place this week to mark the centenary of the sinking of RMS Lusitania off the coast of Cork.
A total of 1,198 passengers and crew died when the ocean liner was torpedoed by a German U-boat some 18km off the Cork coast on May 7, 1915.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the vessel, President Michael D Higgins will be in Cobh this Thursday to attend the official commemoration ceremony, where he will be welcomed by a full naval service guard of honour and the Band 1 Southern Brigade at 1.30pm.
President Higgins will be joined by British ambassador Dominick Chilcott, American ambassador Kevin O’Malley, German ambassador Matthias Hopfner, chairman of Carnival UK David Dingle, and Port of Cork chairman John Mullins.
The ceremony will also include a minute’s silence, blessings, and hymns, and a wreath-laying ceremony by President Higgins and the British, German and US ambassadors at the Lusitania Monument in Town Square.
A ‘Lusitania Remembered’ themed cruise aboard the Queen Victoria left Southampton in England yesterday, and it will arrive in Cobh at 7am on Thursday, with 2,300 passengers, many of which are descendants of Lusitania victims.
The vessel will sound a whistle at 2.10pm to mark the moment the Lusitania was hit by a torpedo.
The Queen Victoria will depart Cobh at 6.30pm, and the public are invited to attend a free open air musical tribute concert from 8pm.
A special commemorative Mass will also be held in St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh on Thursday at 10am for relatives of those who died in the tragedy, those involved in the rescue efforts and relatives of survivors.
A graveyard ceremony will take place at 11.45am, where there will be a wreath laying ceremony and unveiling of new glass headstones at the graves of Lusitania victims.
At 9.15pm, a flotilla of work boats, fishing boats and pleasure craft will sail from Roche’s Point towards Cobh, re-enacting the rescue efforts and symbolising the return to Cobh on May 7, 1915, of boats filled with victims and survivors.
As part of a Procession of Light ceremony, a boat carrying the Cunard flag will come ashore and the Lusitania Monument in the town square will be lit.
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