Anchors recovered from arms-smuggling vessel scuttled in plan to aid Easter Rising

 

DIVERS YESTERDAY recovered two anchors from the wreck of German vessel the Aud used in a foiled attempt to smuggle some 20,000 rifles to the Irish Volunteers for the Easter Rising of 1916.

The anchors were recovered yesterday morning in 36m of water in Cork harbour by divers led by Eoin McGarry from Dungarvan and archaeologist Laurence Dunne from Tralee. “This project to recover the anchors has been around two years in the planning. We wanted to recover something emblematic from the Aud given its important role in the history of the foundation our State,” said Mr Dunne.

Connie Kelleher from the underwater section of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht explained that maritime archaeologist Juliana O’Donoghue made sure everything was in place for the lifting which took about two hours: “The anchors were lifted on to a boat, the Ron Carraig and brought ashore and put into special tanks and transported to Kerry for conservation which will take around three years. But they will be ready for display for the centenary of the Easter Rising.”

The Aud’s was used by the German military authorities to ship 20,000 captured Russian rifles, 10 machine guns and five million rounds of ammunition to Ireland. The shipment was arranged by Sir Roger Casement. The Aud, posing as a Norwegian freighter, made its way from Lubeck in northern Germany to Tralee Bay where it moored off the Maharees to land arms at Fenit.

However, Casement was captured by the RIC at Banna Strand and the Aud was taken by a British naval flotilla. However as they were about to enter Cork harbour, Capt Karl Spindler and his crew of 22 scuttled the vessel near Daunt’s Rock where it has remained.

The anchors will be displayed in locations provided by Cobh Town Council and Tralee and Fenit Harbour Commissioners.