A six-week project that began on July 30 to illuminate Haubowline Lighthouse at the entrance to Carlingford Lough, marked the centenary year of a disaster described as ‘the worst in living memory’.
A heritage trail from Kilkeel through Mourne into South Armagh and the Cooley Peninsula, culminated in a major programme in Newry on November 3.
The legacy will be the creation of the heritage trail, improved cross community and cross border relations and raising awareness of the tragedy, according to the Newry Maritime Association.
On Friday November 3, 1916, two ships – SS Retriever and SS Connemara ― collided with the loss of 94 crew and passengers and one survivor, James Boyle from Warrenpoint.
SS Retriever, a Newry registered collier had departed the Port of Garston on Merseyside at 0425 hrs, bound for Newry with coal, while at 2000 hrs that evening, SS Connemara – a passenger/livestock ferry operating between Greenore and Holyhead – had slipped her moorings in Greenore and had swung towards the channel and the Irish Sea.
The navigation channel just past the Haulbowline Lighthouse, known as ‘The Cut’, is narrow at just 300 yards wide. On the ill-fated night, a rogue sea caught SS Retriever on her port stern, blowing her directly into SS Connemara.