The Lusitania Memorial, Cobh
Although the Titanic drives more tourists to the sights of Cobh, the sinking of the Lusitania (1915) has deeper roots in the citiys memory. When the Ocean Liner was sunk by a German submarine off the Irish coasts, local fishermen helped to save survivors and later helped to get the deceased ashore as well. The hotspot that day was the Cunard Line office building which is only a short walk away from the memorial (see separate tip).
The memorial was designed by Jerome Connor who died in 1943, a couple of years before the monument was unveiled. The total construction of the monument took 11 years. Seamus Murphy was responsible for the stone carvings. The Lusitania memorial is far larger than the one to the Titanic which is only a very short walk away. To emphasise the importance of the local fishermen in rescuing the survivors, two of them are depicted in the memorial below the so-called „Angel of Peace“.
The sinking of the Lusitania changed the worldwide public opinion for Germany for the worse and was probably one of the factors which led to the USA joining WWI. An interesting piece from that time was a German propaganda medal which celebrates the sinking (one copy is preserved in the Queenstown Story exhibition). The story behind that mysterious medal can be found here: http://www.lusitaniamedal.com/
Maritime disasters play an important role in the history of Cobh. Two of the greatest disasters in history have a Cobh connection. Cobh was the last port for the Titantic before its disasterous maiden voyage. And the Lusitania was sunk by German U Boats just off the cost of Cobh. This memorial honors those who died on the Lusitania as well as it honors the citizens of Cobh who went out into the Atlanta to help rescue survivors.
At the entrance to Casement Square is the Lusitania Memorial and I have deliberately made this a seperate item from Caement Square generally to emphasise the NOW and Vibrancy of this place, rather than just noticing it as a memorial spot. The torpedoing of the Lusitania and its subsequent sinking off the Old Head of Kinsale was a significant event in world history because after this the Americans entered the war. For the people of Cobh it will always be remembered as the second shocking sinking, within three years of the Titanic's demise and an occasion when the people of this town showed remarkable courage and charity. Many were saved and many others are still buried in the old church cemetery. The memorial, by Jerome Connors, is an impressive one reflecting the tireless efforts and exhaustion of the fishermen whos struggled to save as many lives as possible. An interesting counterpoint to this memorial is one of the exhibits in the Queenstown Story, which shows a copy of the coin minted by the Germans to CELEBRATE the sinking of the Lusitania.
This is a memorial to those whose lives were lost when the Lusitania was sunk by German torpedos off the Old Head of Kinsale in 1915. Many of the survivors were brought to Cobh and many of the unidentifed dead were buried here also.