Attack on the Lusitania

Rescue operations and memorials

Our day of touring Kinsale and environs, the last day of May 2014, continues with our morning visit to the “Old Head of Kinsale.” Head is short for headland, a narrow strip of land projecting into the sea.

On May 7th, 1915 the Cunard liner Lusitania was torpedoed 16 km (10 miles) off the Old Head of Kinsale, 40 km (25 miles) west of Queenstown. Of the 1,959 people on board, 1,198 died. Those who survived were brought to Queenstown and Kinsale by rescue vessels and cared for in local hotels and hospitals. Many of those who died were buried at Old Church cemetery, 3 km (2 miles) north of Queenstown. The first class Queen’s Hotel cared for some of the survivors. The elegant Edwardian atmosphere of the hotel was shattered by the horrific news of the loss of the ship. This is the setting for the story of Queenstown’s role in the Lusitania disaster. –text from Cobh Heritage Center poster, see image below.

The Old Head is notable, in the contest of the Lusitania attack, for being the land closest to the incident. Cobh, then named “Queenstown”, was the focus of rescue operations. See text below, from a display of the Cobh Heritage Museum.

The Kinsale tower is just over nine meters high, with walls up to 80 cm thick. Records show a signal crew was in place in 1804 and the tower finished the following year, though severely affected by dampness. When Napoleon was defeated by Wellingtons forces at Waterloo, 1815. With the diminished threat these expensive installations were neglected. The 1899 Ordnance Survey map lists the site as being in ruins. During our 2014 visit the local community was renovating the tower and the work appears complete sometime before 2021.

I did not see and/or recall much emphasis in the museum for pillorying Germany, after all a German U-boat was responsible. Curious, I did a Wikipedia search and found this text. The topic of Ireland, Germany and World War I is complicated.

On the afternoon of 7 May, a German U-boat torpedoed Lusitania 11 miles (18 km) off the southern coast of Ireland inside the declared war zone. A second internal explosion sank her in 18 minutes, killing 1,198 passengers and crew. The German government justified treating Lusitania as a naval vessel because she was carrying 173 tons of war munitions and ammunition, making her a legitimate military target, and they argued that British merchant ships had violated the cruiser rules from the very beginning of the war. The internationally recognized cruiser rules were obsolete by 1915; it had become more dangerous for submarines to surface and give warning with the introduction of Q-ships in 1915 by the Royal Navy, which were armed with concealed deck guns. The Germans argued that Lusitania was regularly transporting “war munitions”; she operated under the control of the Admiralty; she could be converted into an armed auxiliary cruiser to join the war; her identity had been disguised; and she flew no flags. They claimed that she was a non-neutral vessel in a declared war zone, with orders to evade capture and ram challenging submarines.
However, the ship was not armed for battle and was carrying thousands of civilian passengers, and the British government accused the Germans of breaching the cruiser rules. The sinking caused a storm of protest in the United States because 128 American citizens were among the dead. The sinking shifted public opinion in the United States against Germany and was one of the factors in the declaration of war nearly two years later. After the First World War, successive British governments maintained that there were no munitions on board Lusitania, and the Germans were not justified in treating the ship as a naval vessel. In 1982, the head of the Foreign Office’s American department finally admitted that, although no weapons were shipped, there is a large amount of ammunition in the wreck, some of which is highly dangerous and poses a safety risk to salvage teams.

The original memorial to the Lusitania was unveiled on the 80th anniversary of the May 7th, 1915 sinking (May 7, 1995), Old Head of Kinsale, County Cork Ireland. The imemorial nscription reads “In memory of the 1198 civilian lives lost on the Lusitania 7th May 1915 off the Old Head of Kinsale.”

The inscription of the commemoration plaque accompanying the memorial reads, “This memorial was unveiled by Hugh Coveney D Minister of Defense and The Marine on 7 May 1995.” Around the edge of the medallion reads, “Brian Little Sculptor” “This (cannot read) donated by Lan and Mary Buckley”

Reference
Wikipedia, “RMS Lusitania.”
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Napoleonic Era Signal Tower

19th Century Technology

Our day of touring Kinsale and environs, the last day of May 2014, began with this elegant breakfast by Marantha House near Blarney, our base for County Cork.

On the way to the Old Head of Kinsale. Located in Knocknacurra on the Kinsale side of Bridge Kinsale on R600. Looking toward the peninsula of Castle Park Village and James Fort. Coordinates 51°41’40.1″N 8°31’42.0″W

This tower, at the apex of the Old Head ring route, has extensive views. The next station at Seven Heads, to the southwest, is visible against the skyline on a clear day. These are two of the 81 stations planned for this signaling system implemented in the first years of the 19th century when a French naval invasion was a possibility.

The Kinsale tower is just over nine meters high, with walls up to 80 cm thick. Records show a signal crew was in place in 1804 and the tower finished the following year, though severely affected by dampness. When Napoleon was defeated by Wellingtons forces at Waterloo, 1815. With the diminished threat these expensive installations were neglected. The 1899 Ordnance Survey map lists the site as being in ruins. During our 2014 visit the local community was renovating the tower and the work appears complete sometime before 2021.


References
Click me for Irish Times 2013, “Ireland’s Napoleonic-era signal towers.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Coolcreen View Six

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day 2021 “No Snakes”

Number six of six from the Kerry County side on the descent Healy Pass, R574. Here we move away from, say goodbye (hopefully, for now) to these marvelous views, our first sight of County Kerry.

Two more strange, conical hills come into view, repeating those in the distance. These have a long story.

Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Coolcreen View Three prime

Coolcreen Townland

Number three of six from the Kerry County side on the descent Healy Pass, R574. I enhanced view three to level the horizon. A side by side comparison is provided, below.

It is possible to just make out several lake houses. Click me for more information about who live here during the early twentieth century.

Click me to learn more about the name of the lake.

Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.

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Visible from this point on R574, Healy Pass, is Glenmore Lake, the Rivers Drunminboy, Glanstrasna flowing into a sheltered inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. In 1911, the Irish National Census lists nineteen (19) persons of five (5) families listed with the names O’Sullivan, Sullivan and Shea. From this view this is a puzzle until the map is examined. The land transitions from this rock to a steep, then leveling slope down to Glanmere Lake and a stream running from the heights with plenty of reasonably level, fertile acreage. There is a glimpse of a lake. Like many of the Irish place names, Glenmore Lake has a connection to the Irish Language name, Loch an Ghleanna Mhóir. Roughly translated the name means Large Lake of the Glen. The names in use today, in English, are derived from the sounds of the Irish. It happens the Irish Ghleanna sounds link Glen (or in another version, Glan, roughly the same). Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Coolcreen View Five

horizontal

Number five of six from the Kerry County side on the descent Healy Pass, R574. Less sky and more land in this horizontal aspect.

Lavender hedgerows drawn the eye to that conical distant hill. In the lower left the new rhododendron leaves are flower-like.

Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Coolcreen View Four

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Number four of six from the Kerry County side on the descent Healy Pass, R574. Here I turn the camera on the Manfrotto studio tripod with hydrostatic ball head to the original view, a little less lit with a better leveling of the horizon.

A first glance, the rhododendrons in bloom are beautiful along the hedgerows and the foreground. Click me for our first encounter with this flowering plant. Later, during out stay at Ashford Castle, County Mayo, during kayaking on Lough Corrib, I remembered this scene and described it to my guide. He filled me in the rhododendron is a notorious invasive species. Click me for an interesting article with all the details.

Here is story of visitors LOST in a rhododendron forest.

Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Coolcreen View Three

Coolcreen Townland

Number three of six from the Kerry County side on the descent Healy Pass, R574. I turned the camera a few more degrees into the gathering darkness, under the cloud, for an almost complete view of Glanmore Lake.

It is possible to just make out several lake houses. Click me for more information about who live here during the early twentieth century.

Click me to learn more about the name of the lake.

Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.

You can easily view a higher resolution versions by clicking on the photograph to open a browser tab.

Click photograph for a larger version.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Coolcreen View Two

Coolcreen Townland

Number two of six from the Kerry County side on the descent Healy Pass, R574. The dynamic range is a photographic challenge: the scene darkens as a cloud covers the westering sun, I turn the camera toward Glanmore Lake. The large, distant water is a bay on the North Atlantic named for the city at the foot, Kenmare.

Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Coolcreen View One

Coolcreen Townland

Number one of six from the Kerry County side on the Healy Pass, R574, descent. You can see the turnout we are using on the road below in this photograph Kerry View Seven. We have not travelled far, still in Coolcreen townland.

Here is a story collected by Shelia Sheahan from Mrs. M. Sheahan of Beal Middle, County Kerry.The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0621, Page 413” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

There is a fort in Beale and it is supposed to be the principal resort of the fairies. One day as two men were drawing hay from Slios near Caill na calman, one went through the fields as it was shorter than to go by the road, and his brother drove the horse by the road to Slios. As he was passing this fort, a little boy came out of it and ran after the car and sat into it. When they were gone a short distance he offered the man some sweets but he refuse to take any. None of them spoke anymore until they arrived in Slios. Again the little boy offer the sheets to the second man who went through the fields. But his brother went behind the little boy’s back and grinned at the other man not to take the sweets, because he was about to take them. At this the little boy went into the fort and they saw him no more. Background: a fort, or rath, is a grassy, round mound. By emerging from the rath, the boy is identified as one of the Others (“fairies”). Accepting and consuming a foodstuff or beverage from the Others puts a human under their control. The second man did not know where the boy came from and was warned away by his companion, otherwise the story would be much longer.

Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Kerry View Seven

Coolcreen Townland

Number seven of seven from the Kerry County side near the top of Healy Pass, R574. Here is a brother to Number Six, being an improvement: the horizon is corrected. Can you make out the two sheep on the road?

Here is a story of the Caha Mountains, collected 1939. It was collected from a man living on the opposite side of Kenmare Bay, the water of the Atlantic Ocean glimpsed in the distance. “The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0621, Page 413” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Long ago a big worm was crossing the Caha Mountains when Saint Patrick met it. He made the Sign of the Cross over the worm and the worm was cut in two halves. One half fell at each side of the mountain. The worm was buried where it fell and it can be seen yet where it was buried in Coomnapeiste. This is a hollow on the side of one of the hills of the Caha Mountains and is visible from Blackwater Bridge National School playground. Situate opposite Lackeen other side of Kenmare Bay probably Tuosist Parish.

Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.

You can easily view a higher resolution versions by clicking on the photograph to open a browser tab.

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Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved