Cobh holds solitary tribute for Titanic passengers as Covid-19 restrictions impact ceremony

The tribute marks the first time in 20 years that no public event was held for the ill-fated voyage due to the coronavirus
Cobh holds solitary tribute for Titanic passengers as Covid-19 restrictions impact ceremony
A floral tribute at the pier where 123 passengers departed Cobh to join the Titanic 108 years ago. Picture: Hendrick Verwey.

A solitary floral tribute will be placed on the Titanic memorial in the centre of Cobh to mark the 108th anniversary of the sinking of the ship.

For the first time in more than 20 years, there will be no public event to mark the occasion as a result of the coronavirus lockdown measures.

Tourism officials in the town are still keen to mark the occasion in some manner, though.

On April 11, 1912, 123 passengers boarded the Titanic in Queenstown. It was the last port of call for the ill-fated ship on its voyage from Southampton to New York.

Just four days later, the ship hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank with the loss of more than 1,500 lives, including 79 of those who boarded in Cobh.

Jack Walsh, chairman of Cobh Tourism, invited people to "say a prayer or share a thought" on Saturday, April 11, instead of attending a public ceremony.

"As you remember all those who died on Titanic, please also think about those who have been taken from us in the current pandemic," Mr Walsh said.

"They are not a statistic or a story, they are real people with families who love them and hopefully their ancestors will continue to remember them and commemorate this current tragedy long into the future."

Tourists visit Cobh all year around to visit the town's Titanic Memorial Garden, which is situated on the waterfront overlooking the ship's final anchorage.

It includes a glass memorial wall which bears the sames of the 123 passengers who embarked in Queenstown.

There is also a memorial in the town square, dedicated to the 79 passengers who boarded in Cobh and died, while there are also a number of museums and heritage centres dedicated to the Titanic story, including Cobh Heritage Centre and The Titanic Experience.

Mr Walsh added, "Those who departed from Titanic’s last port of call did so with trepidation, excitement and in hope of a new life in America.

"The tragedy that unfolded on that maiden voyage is something that we are committed to paying tribute to, even this year, with an overarching emphasis on remembering above all else the tragic loss of life for many of those onboard.”

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