Know your Irish Maritime History? Try our Hundred Years Ago Quiz!

1917? Sure I remember it like it was only yesterday!

See how you fare in our maritime centenary quiz of 1917.

1. What happens to shipwrecks in Irish waters when they turn 100 years old?

Wreck of the HMS Drake. Credit Wessex Archaeology

As the centenary of their sinking is marked, these shipwrecks will gain additional protections as they fall under the remit of the National Monuments Act. 1917 had the highest number of wartime sinkings in Irish waters, around 650, over half the wrecks throughout of all the First World War.

2. What was the name of the RMS Leinster’s sister ship that was sunk in March of 1917?

The RMS Connaught was one of four steamers named after the four provinces of Ireland and operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company for the Royal Mail Service. During the First World War the Connaught was commandeered by the British War Office and pressed into service. On 3rd March 1917 while returning to Southampton from Le Havre she was sunk for a German U-Boat.

3. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. True or False

This year is the bicentenary of Dun Laoghaire harbour. The foundation stone of Dun Laoghaire harbour was first laid down in 1817 by the Lord Lieutenant. Built as an asylum harbour, Dun Laoghaire acted as a vital stop off point for ships waiting to enter Dublin Port. The harbour consists of two long granite piers, east and west, and encloses a space of 250 acres taking 600 men nearly 40 years to complete.

4. The SS Laurentic sank with 3,200 gold bars on board. How many bars are rumoured to still be down there?

On the 25th January 1917 the SS Laurentic was heading from Liverpool to Canada with a cargo full of gold to pay for arms. She tragically struck two mines that had been left by a German submarine at the entrance to Lough Swilly. The ship quickly sank taking with her 354 souls and around 3,200 gold bars. After the sinking, the Royal Navy organised several dives to retrieve the lost gold. But rumours went, and persist, that 22 bars still remain unaccounted for and could still be found within the wreck.

5. On the 4th May 1917, the US Navy arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh). Why were the local men not happy about this?

The arrival of the US Navy in Cobh had a huge social and economic impact on the area. It heavily impacted local economy and infrastructure but it would also cause a stir among the locals. Local men were none too happy that Naval personnel were catching the eye of the local girls. Many women fell for and married their American sweethearts and headed off to the States for a new life. The local men were not happy and woman were assaulted and attacked in the street for being seen with Americans and US sailors were banned from Cork City.

6. What globally recognised Irish business operated the W.M Barkley?

The famous Irish brewers would send barrels of the black stuff by barge and boat via the canals to serve all parts of the Ireland and from the River Liffey out across the Irish sea to England from where it was then exported around the globe. Up until the early 20th century they relied on shipping companies to deliver their popular stout but a strike at Dublin Port in 1913 prompted them to buy the first vessel in their very own fleet – the W.M Barkley. On the 12th October 1917 the W.M. Barkley, sailing from Dublin to Liverpool with a cargo full of Guinness was torpedoed by a German U-boat.

7. On the 3rd August 1917 Roger Casement was executed for his part in the Rising. What was the name of the ship he used to try to smuggle guns into the country?

Roger Casement negotiated with the German government to ship 25,000 rifles and 1 millions rounds to arm the rebels in the 1916 Rising. The guns were shipped on the vessel Libau. This ship was formerly a British merchant vessel SS Castro, but was captured in 1914 by the Imperial German Navy and renamed Libau. As part of the attempted gun smuggling the Libau was disguised as Norwegian vessel ‘Aud’. The plan failed and ‘Aud’ was intercepted and Roger casement captured on Banna Strand.

8. The captain of the Lightship Guillemot made a big decision, breaking protocol and leading to his ship being sunk. What did he do?

The Captain of the lightship Guillemot faced an ethical conundrum when a U-boat positioned itself behind his ship for cover to pick off unsuspecting vessels. Officially the lightship was neutral but after seeing four vessels ruthlessly dispatched captain Rossiter made the decision to warn oncoming ship for the u-boat presence. The German’s weren’t too happy about this and sunk the Guillemot for its troubles.

9. In December 1917 two Dublin Port merchant vessels were torpedoed by German U-Boats. One was the SS Hare - what was the other?

During December 1917 two separate attacks on Dublin port vessels killing 36 people had a huge impact on the Dublin Docklands community , where many of the victims lived. On December 14th the SS Hare was struck by a torpedo as she headed in to Dublin from Manchester. On December 27th the SS Adela was hit on her way from Dublin to Liverpool. At the end of September a plaque to commemorate the loss will be unveiled in Dublin

10. On 29th May 1917 after nearly 3 years since he first set sail Shackleton arrived home from his Trans Antarctic adventure. What was name of the lifeboat they took to find help?

Shackleton’s Endurance expedition is an epic story of adventure, survival and bravery. In a last ditch effort to be rescued Shackleton along with fellow Irishman Tom Crean and 4 other members of the crew courageously embarked on one of the most harrowing real life open boat journeys the world has ever seen. Aboard the James Caird they battled daily against the harsh environment on a quest for survival.

 

About the Author

Ann Robinson

Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me ann@coastmonkey.ie or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22