Maritime Cork: Cork's unique memorials 

Maritime Cork: Cork's unique memorials 
The memorial in Glenbrook of those who emigrated from Cork.

A new memorial has appeared on the riverbank at Glenbrook, close to the cross-river ferry which carries traffic across the Lee to the Great Island at Carrigaloe and onto Cobh.

It is not immediately visible from the roadway or footpath, amongst its screen of trees and bushes. It is an interesting work by Sculptor Mick Wilkins of a young, bare-footed woman, holding a boat in her right-hand, looking upriver towards where the famous Sirius, commanded by local man, Captain Richard Roberts, left on the fourth of April, 1838, having taken on fuel and supplies for a voyage that would make TransAtlantic history as the first steamship voyage to America.

The inscription is: “In memory of those who emigrated from this shore.” 

It was erected by SECAD, the South East Cork Area Development partnership; Cork County Council and the Glenbrook Amenity Association.

I noticed it walking along the riverfront where the memorial garden to the history-making Sirius is close to the new monument.

Discovering it brought to mind other Cork maritime memorials about which there is not a lot of public knowledge. One of these is close to Glenbrook, at Passage West, where there is a graveyard memorial recalling “the massacre” aboard the Mary Russell, the wooden brigantine which sailed from Cobh on February 8, 1828, for Barbados and returned on June 25, with seven of the crew murdered by her Captain.

Author Mike Hackett, recalls another unusual maritime memorial in his book “Sailors & Characters of Youghal,” which is cut into the rocks below Youghal Lighthouse.

In 1933 a cabin boy named William Perrott drowned off a ketch called, Daisy, while it was moored in Youghal Harbour. His body was washed ashore four miles upriver at Templemichael and was buried in the local cemetery. He was from Wales and, at the funeral, his family arranged with a local man, Tom Hickey, to maintain the grave.

This was done until Tom Hickey died in 1976. The grave of the cabin boy became overgrown and its cross decayed and fell.

“It would seem,” writes Mike Hackett, “that this was the last anybody would know of the young cabin boy, but not so. One of the family who came over for the funeral in 1933 was a stonemason apprentice and while in Youghal had secretly chiselled a memorial to his brother, William, on the rocks below Youghal Lighthouse. That tribute was later discovered and even now, after being covered at every full tide, it can still be read.” 

Hougoumont

Last week’s article about the last convict transportation shop, the Hougoumont, brought a lot of response.

Kieran Wyse of the Cork County Library, says that there is a photocopy of ‘The Wild Goose,’ the newspaper which the Fenians produced aboard the ship while being transported, that is available for inspection in the Reference Department at the Cork County Library HQ on the Straight Road. 

“Anyone with a further interest in the Fenian Movement should visit our new digital resource http://www.corklocalstudies.ie” 

We also had a number of readers seeking information about family ancestry with the Fenians which Fred Rea of the Irish Scene magazine is trying to trace. Readers agreed with his view that it is regrettable the 150th anniversary of the ending of transportation and the Hougoumont voyage was not marked in Ireland.

Mike Loring who has made a model of the Catalpa, the ship which rescued the Fenian prisoners, said: “I have been preaching about the same for years, but we are preaching to deaf ears.” 

Email: tommacsweeneymarine@gmail.com

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