Tragedy off the south coast – Sir Hugh Lane one of the casualties
Published on 5th May 2015
Dublin, Monday, 10 May 1915. Following the tragic loss of RMS Lusitania, on Friday afternoon 7 May, off the south coast of Ireland near the Old Head of Kinsale, in which 1,198 passengers and crew were drowned, it is reported that Sir Hugh Lane, benefactor to this city, is among the casualties. The ship, en route from New York to Liverpool, with civilian passengers, seems to have been torpedoed by a German U-Boat. It is also reported that passengers were warned of the potential dangers before travelling. Bodies of the victims have been taken to Queenstown, County Cork, for identification and burial, but the body of Sir Hugh has not been recovered, much to the grief of his family and wide circle of friends.
Sir Hugh was the nephew of Lady Augusta Gregory, one of the leading lights of our new Irish National Theatre Company at the Abbey Theatre. Aged just 40, Sir Hugh had established an international reputation as an art collector, and was knighted for his services to art. He had travelled to the United States earlier in the year as part of his art business. In his will he is reported to have bequeathed a substantial collection of 39 French Impressionist paintings to Dublin city. Readers who remember the fine exhibition held at the Municipal Gallery in Harcourt Street, a few years ago (in 1908), will vouch for the value and beauty of the collection.
The death of this young man is a great loss to our city, but his legacy of art works will be his memorial, to be appreciated by future citizens for generations to come.
Read all about it in the Reading Room at Dublin City Library & Archive, or online at any Dublin city branch library.