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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:40 am 
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This article appeared in the Newry Reporter in 1988 and was reprinted by the Warrenpoint Historical group in one of their magazines. as this is the centenary year and as at the time of posting we are only a matter of days away from that date, I felt it would be nice to post it here:

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The 3rd of November, 1916- some seventy years ago- may not create great interest with your younger readers, save, perhaps, those relatives still alive, but to those of the older generation it recalls the greatest maritime tragedy in the history of Carlingford Lough by the collision and wreck of the “Connemara” and “Retriever.” with just one survivor.

The story of the tragedy was fully reported in the “Newry reporter” issues of the time and in the years since articles have also appeared in this widely read newspaper telling of the tragedy.
Many years ago as a contributor to The Christmas Number of the Reporter, I wrote that although young at the time, I remembered a portion of a poem which was composed at the time to mark the tragedy, by a young Warrenpoint lady, Clara Kathleen Meeke. Clara lived in Warrenpoint at Great Georges Street in Warrenpoint, and her father was in charge of a bakery depot.

Imagine my surprise last year when I met a relative of the Meeke family and I discovered that Clara was still alive. Through this meeting I was able to contact Clara Meeke and as a result she forwarded me a complete copy of the song, and since then we have corresponded regularly, and although she is in her 90th year she is still very hale and hearty.
Her memory of people and places, and her host of names of those who attended Jameson’s School, Warrenpoint in those years brought back to me many nostalgic memories, and some of them are still with us.
She vividly recalls those pre-First World War years of life in Warrenpoint which I, myself, covered in my book which was published a few years ago, and she, like I and others of those years who are still alive are proud and happy to have grown up, lived in, and loved our home town of Warrenpoint.

Robert Jones,
Warrenpoint.



The Poem:


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THE LOSS OF THE CONNEMARA
3rd November, 1916

One stormy wild November night
A ship set out to sail;
To make her way through waters wild,
To meet the rising gale.

When but a little distance out,
Distress “Calls” quickly blew:
As battling with the storm-tossed tide
The Retriever came in view.

What happened then no words can tell,
But we our picture form,
The ships collide, and one hundred lives
Are the victims of the storm.

As signals from the sinking ships
Were wafted on the ear,
A willing band of helpers then
Soon on the beach appear.

How eagerly they watch and wait,
And scan the billows wild;
A feeble cry for “Help” they hear,
As faint as a little child.

They needed not a another word,
As dashing through the wave,
They reach the sailor lad, and thus-
The sole survivor save.

At daybreak, still the watchers wait,
In ghastly fear and dread;
While rolling in on the rock beach
The sea gives up its dead.

As then the mournful tale is told,
Deep sorrow sweeps the land,
And friends, in pity, view the scene
Way down on cranfiled strand.

But oh! For those whose loved are gone,
Dear Lord, their comfort be;
As in thy gracious keeping now
We leave the “Lost at Sea.”

We too, do weep and sympathise
With all who truly mourn,
For loved ones who were shipwrecked
By the shores of kindly Mourne.


By Clara Kathleen Meeke,
‘Nevada’
16, Great Georges Street,
Warrenpoint.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:59 pm 
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Tonight marks the 100th anniversary of the Connemara and retriever disaster on Carlingford lough. The accident has been well documented on here and of late in the local press but I'll include this small summery.

The SS Connemara, a passenger cargo vessel owned by the London & North Western Railway company, was en-route from Greenore to Holyhead on the night of Friday November 3 1916 when it was in collision with the incoming coal collier the SS Retriever.

The 270-foot long 1,106-ton vessel had a complement of 55 passengers and 31 Welsh crew members on board, and all perished.
The collision happened at the entrance to Carlingford Lough in an area known to mariners as 'The Cut', where the turbulent tidal patterns rush to meet the open sea.

The Connemara, a twin-screw steamship, had been constructed in 1897 by Denny Brothers of Dunbarton and was purchased by the L&NWR company to serve passenger and cargo traffic between Greenore and Holyhead, described as “the most direct and comfortable route between Ireland and Great Britain”.

The 168-foot long three masted steamer Retriever was a 483-ton coal collier owned by the Clanrye Shipping Company, and had been built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company in 1899.
The Connemara had left Greenore Port at 8pm on that fateful Friday evening bound for Holyhead on her regular run with cargo and passengers while the inward bound Retriever was en-route from Garston for the Port of Newry with a cargo of coal (it had nine crew members on board).
Disaster struck in mountainous seas when neither vessel could take evasive action and the Connemara's port side was sliced open by the Retriever's bows, sinking within several minutes with all on board.

The Retriever sank some minutes later with only one survivor, 21-year-old Warrenpoint man James Boyle.
The death toll could have been higher if it were not for the war time restrictions limiting the passengers to third class only.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:37 pm 
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100 years ago my Great Grandfather was
a passenger on the fateful ship
The Connemara.

I didn't hear a lot about it growing up,
and thanks to the Forum, I was able to
envision the tragedy of that night.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:21 pm 
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I took a long exposure photograph at exactly 8pm tonight just to mark the anniversary, the conditions tonight were calm and overcast a far cry from the storm 100 years ago.

Image
Click to enlarge


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:34 pm 
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Brian - can't open it.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:45 pm 
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xpaddy wrote:
Brian - can't open it.


Photobucket (the hosting site) is off line at the moment, it should be back up later.


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