There are moments and scenes which stand out in your mind. Stamped on mine is the day I went to a coastal village in West Cork and there, on the edge of a cliffside near Barryroe, close to Courtmacsherry Harbour, I saw the remains of a long-abandoned fishing family’s home, where two sons had died in the biggest sea battle of World War One – the Battle of Jutland on the thirty-first of May 1916. A short distance further up the same cliffside from that house, I was shown the home of another family whose son had died in the same battle. And, amazingly, in the parish of Barryroe, six men from the village had died in that sea battle, fought by a hundred thousand sailors in 250 ships of the British and German Navies. Eight thousand of those sailors were killed, including the six men from this village in West Cork. Another 29 sailors from Barryroe survived.
The interest of coastal communities in their history and culture, their pride in their heritage are impressive and are well underlined in this edition of my maritime programme, THIS ISLAND NATION, (click below for podcast) in the process of producing which I am fortunate to meet such communities.
In this edition I meet people from Courtmacsherry and Barryroe on the West Cork coastline and hear how they have researched and, as a result honoured, the amazing linkage between the area and the biggest sea battle of World War One – the Battle of Jutland, which is also described as the biggest sea battle ever. The statistics from it are, in terms of human destruction, terrible.
To walk into Lislevane Cemetery in Barryroe and see the memorial to those who fought and died at the Battle of Jutland is an emotional experience.