Ireland to mark centenary of Lusitania's sinking

The centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania takes places in May this year and a series of events is being organised in Ireland to mark the occasion.

The Lusitania

The Lusitania Image by Paukrus / CC BY 2.0

The vessel sank on the seventh of May, 1915, with the loss of 1,198 passengers and crew. It was torpedoed some 18km off the Old Head of Kinsale by the German submarine U20 while en route from New York to Liverpool.

The Lusitania sank within 18 minutes, with only 761 people surviving the attack. The Irish Times reports that some 128 of the 1,198 who perished were US citizens and that the sinking had a major impact on public opinion in the US.It is generally accepted that it had a major influence on the decision of then president, Woodrow Wilson, to enter the first World War on the side of the Allies in 1917.

A number of communities in Cork who were linked to the tragedy have come together to organise a series of commemorative events over a five-month period. These begin this weekend in Cobh, where many of the bodies were brought ashore after the sinking. Some 169 victims are buried in the Old Church Cemetery there. Mr Hendrick Verwey, the Chairman of Cobh Tourism, said the programme of commemoration would be launched in the town on Sunday, when the carillonneur of St Colman’s Cathedral, will present a recital. Schoolchildren will also read the names of the 169 victims buried in the town.

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