Welcome to the Courtmacsherry Lusitania Centenary Website

In Courtmacsherry Bay is the old British Royal Navy watch tower of the Seven Heads peninsula, the closest point of land to the Lusitania tragedy at 11.2 nautical miles. Courtmacsherry Harbour is also home to the oldest RNLI lifeboat station in Ireland founded in 1825, and at the time of the Lusitania tragedy, located at Barry’s Point, Courtmacsherry.

On May 7th 1915, the Lusitania, a British Cunard line ocean liner was on passage from New York when she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat south of Courtmacsherry Bay, with the loss of 1201 lives. The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew was alerted to the tragedy and, because of very fine weather that day the sails were of no use so they rowed the Kezia Gwilt Lifeboat to the scene of the sinking.

The local Courtmacsherry RNLI crew have formed a Committee to organise events to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania and to remember the tragic loss of life and the gallant efforts of those including Courtmacsherry lifeboat crew who responded in selfless determination that fateful day to save life.

The commemoration will be held on the May Bank holiday weekend 2015 with the centrepiece being a Lusitania Exhibition in Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Station and the local Community Hall. Check out the Events page for details of all planned events, orClick Here to download a .pdf of the schedule. Click here for details of the Centenary Commemeration Dinner.

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     RE-ENACTMENT:   To coincide with the exhibition, the local lifeboat crew will re-enact the call to service, on the 3rd May 2015 at 11am from Blind Strand. and row the same arduous 12 Nautical Miles out to the site of the disaster. To perform this re-enactment, the crew of Courtmacsherry RNLI researched and secured the use of the restored Pulling & Sailing Ryder Lifeboat from 1902, courtesy of the Polperro Lifeboat Trust, UK.
We welcome representatives of the Polperro Trust to Courtmacsherry and their support and invaluable contribution to this re-enactment is greatly appreciated. The current Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew along with descendants of the 1915 crew trained throughout the winter, with help from the local Courtmacsherry Rowing Club, and will lead this re-enactment row.The direct descendants of the Lifeboat crew of 1915 will narrate the story.
Over 100 people, incl. 20 schoolchildren from Barryroe school will take part in this dramatised production which lasts about 50 minutes. “It has been a wonderful privilege working closely with these family members, with the RNLI crew, the rowing club, the choirs, the schoolchildren and the entire Barryroe community. The dedication and enthusiasm for this project has been both heart-warming and moving.” -Angela Veldman O’Donovan Producer / Director
click here to see a Google Map of the route from Blind Strand to the Lusitania
The “Ryder” is a restored Pulling & Sailing (non-motorised) lifeboat built in 1902 and very similar to the “Kezia Gwilt” lifeboat that was stationed at Courtmacsherry in 1915. Click here to see pictures.
The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat centenary committee comprises of current regular crew members of the local all-weather Lifeboat, the Frederick Storey Cockburn who themselves volunteer to save lives at sea.
We are appealing for artefacts, stories and memorabilia to be part of our exhibitions. We would love to hear from any family members of those lost or saved in the Lusitania tragedy to share their stories with us, which will then be compiled and included in the exhibition. Anyone with stories, memorabilia or artefacts for the exhibition is requested to please contact the Committee at Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station at [email protected] All memorabilia or artefacts loaned for the exhibition will be receipted by our committee curator and returned to their owners after the exhibition.
Lusitania Centenary commemorations will also be held in other locations in the local area. These include the Cobh Lusitania Centenary Commemorations, The Old Head of Kinsale Lusitania Museum Signal Tower project and Kinsale Town Commerations.
Please see the Visit Cork County website for more information on all the planned commerations. http://www.visitcorkcounty.com/Lusitania100Cork