Centenary of tragic sinking remembered


A wartime tragedy just 30 miles south of the Isle of Man has been commemorated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company 100 years on.

Relatives of those who perished on the SS Dundalk in October 1918 laid a wreath at the site of the ship's sinking after the fastcraft Manannan deviated course from her usual Dublin to Douglas route to pay its respects.

Twenty-one of the 32 people on board lost their lives when the merchant vessel, that carried passengers and freight, was sunk by a torpedo, practically breaking her in two.

Family members who wanted to mark the centenary were welcomed on board Manannan to conduct a short commemorative service which included a wreath laying ceremony.

The relatives of those who survived then presented a commemorative plaque to Captain Sean Rooney, thanking the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for its assistance with the service and in honour of the 1918 rescue mission when its vessel SS Douglas also picked up five survivors.
Marie Agnew, secretary of the SS Dundalk Centenary Committee, said it was a deeply poignant occasion.

‘This impacted upon the lives of so many people local to the area of Dundalk so for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company to bring us to the resting place of the SS Dundalk was such a kind gesture, we cannot thank them enough.

‘Manannan cut its engines and gave us 20 minutes over the wreck site and Captain Rooney led us in prayer and the names of those lost were read out.

‘It is hard to find the words to describe the moment when we had a minute of silent reflection followed by laying of flowers with messages to everyone who rests there.’

Among those on board the Dublin to Douglas sailing were three grandchildren of the captain Hugh O’Neill who died in the sinking.

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Naturally, the relatives of those on the SS Dundalk have taken an avid interest in the story of the stricken vessel down the years and the Isle of Man connection.

‘From the moment they contacted us, we wanted to try and help fulfil their wishes.

‘We were pleased to have played our part in the ceremony and the memorial wreath laying and thank those involved for the plaque they presented to the company.’