Model of Lusitania unveiled in west Cork village

Replica of liner which went down with the loss of 1,198 lives unveiled in Courtmacsherry

Set on a concrete plinth outside Courtmacsherry Community Hall, the model is visible to all visiting the seaside village. Photograph: Vincent O’Donovan

Set on a concrete plinth outside Courtmacsherry Community Hall, the model is visible to all visiting the seaside village. Photograph: Vincent O’Donovan

 

It may be more than 100 years since the Lusitania was sunk off the west Cork coast in the first World War but the tragedy is still remembered by the descendants of many involved in rescuing survivors.

The RNLI Courtmacsherry Lifeboat, Kweiza Gwilt, was one of the first vessels to respond to the torpedoing of RMS Lusitania by U20 off the Old Head of Kinsale with the lifeboat crew rowing from Barry’s Point to the scene to pick up survivors.

Descendants of the lifeboat crew were among the attendees at the unveiling in Courtmacsherry on Monday evening of a model of the liner which went down with the loss of 1,198 lives in just 18 minutes on May 7th, 1915.

Diarmuid Begley of the Courtmacsherry Lusitania Model Project committee explained that the idea for the model came after there was a huge response locally to the building of a model for the St Patrick’s Day Parade in 2015.

“We put a plywood model together for the parade in 2015 to mark the centenary of the sinking but she was never intended as any sort of permanent structure but people asked us to leave her in the village which we did but she deteriorated.

“This one is built to last. She’s made from top-quality marine ply on an accoya frame and is over 19ft long. She’s built from the ship’s plans by carpenter Richard O’Sullivan who loves what he’s doing and you can see that in his work.

“During the war, her funnels were black and her name was blacked over but her original colours were red and black and that’s what we opted for; she has three coats of paint internally and five coats externally so she’s well waterproofed.”

Set on a concrete plinth outside Courtmacsherry Community Hall, the model, which was to be unveiled by Mayor of Co Cork, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, is visible to all visiting the seaside village.

Mr Begley paid tribute to the Courtmacsherry Development Association which came up with the idea of the model and Cork County Council, Courtmacsherry Community Shop and International Paints which helped sponsor the work.

“The model had to be lifted onto steel tubes set in concrete to keep her steady. It was a real team effort to get her built but it’s a wonderful addition to the village and a fine way of remembering Courtmacsherry’s link with such a historic event.”