A memorial to those lost at sea off the Clare coast will be unveiled in Kilkee today.
The engraved stone has been funded by the proceeds from the ‘Kilkee Moments’ fund, a charity project where a book featuring photos of life in Kilkee that had been submitted by members of the public was published.
The memorial stone project arose from an idea from founder of the volunteer Kilkee Marine Rescue Service and local businessman Manuel Di Lucia and has been five years in the planning.
The monument, located at the East End in the West Clare resort town, will remember those lost at sea through various tragedies including two historic shipwrecks off Kilkee in the 1800s in which 112 people perished.
On January 30th 1836, the Intrinsic was sailing from Liverpool to New Orleans in the United States when it was blown into a bay near Bishops Island off Kilkee. The ship, with 14 crew on board, was smashed against the cliffs. No one survived the tragedy. The shipwreck site is now known locally as ‘Intrinsic Bay’.
The Edmond, a chartered passenger sailing vessel, sank off Kilkee on November 19th 1850. While 118 of those on board survived, 98 people died in the tragedy.
The memorial that will be unveiled today will serve as a permanent reminder of those who died in those tragedies and the many people who were taken by the sea in more recent times. In some cases, bodies were never recovered despite the efforts of the Kilkee Marine Rescue Service and other voluntary and statutory groups.
Already, 16 names of the lost have been inscribed on the monument while the opportunity will be available to others who want their loved ones remembered to have their names displayed for a fee that will cover the cost of the sculptor.
Manuel Di Lucia said: “I wanted some way of remembering those who have been lost off our coast. We had two significant ship wrecks in the 1800s but many others have lost their lives in the area over the years. We have names going back the 1950s and we know we are missing some between then and now.”
“There are some gaps in our list but anyone who has lost someone off the coast around Kilkee can contact me if they want to have their loved one permanently remembered. I think it’s a fitting tribute to those who sadly died off the coast here,” Mr Di Lucia added.Inscribed on the stone, which was sourced from a quarry in Kilrush, are the words “A memorial to all lost souls off our coast”.
The blessing and unveiling event will take place in Kilkee today (Sunday) at 3.00pm.
*If you wish to have a loved one’s name added to the memorial, you can contact Manuel Di Lucia on 087 8119797.