The Irish Lights issued a statement about the South Arklow Lightship that didn’t tell the full story.
Their official explanation that it was missing off station was that it had “disappeared.”
In reality it had been sunk!
Dr. Michael Kennedy of the Royal Irish Academy, who is also Executive Editor of ‘Documents on Irish Foreign Policy’, had a remarkable story to tell when he referred to the “Irish amnesiac condition” which has ignored the importance of the sea around our nation. His example, which has left a strong impression on me, is that the history of the First World War focusses strongly on the big land battles in Europe – but Ireland, the Irish coastline and seafarers were on the front line of that war… as were the men of the South Arklow Lightship.
He told me the story, which hasn’t had a lot of public attention, at a maritime history conference in University College, Cork.
Listen to Dr. Kennedy on the Podcast here and also to a tragic story about 338 sailors lost off Bloody Foreland and the rescue by RNLI of a team playing football.
• Tom MacSweeney presents THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme on local stations around Ireland