Moving ceremony held in Dun Laoghaire to commemorate sinking of RMS Leinster 100 years ago today
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Moving ceremony held in Dun Laoghaire to commemorate sinking of RMS Leinster 100 years ago today

EVENTS have been held all over Ireland today in memory of the sinking of RMS Leinster in the Irish Sea 100 years ago today.

Today marks the centenary of the sinking of the famous ship, which resulted in the deaths of 564 people in the single-largest loss of life on the Irish Sea.

A day of commemorations began early this morning with a wreath-laying ceremony at the wreck site, near the Kish Bank just outside Dublin Bay, where the wreck lies on the seabed at a depth of 28 metres.

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The RMS Leinster had just set sail from Dún Laoghaire (then known as Kingstown) bound for Holyhead, when it was struck by three torpedoes from a German submarine in the closing weeks of World War I.

It took just 12 to 15 minutes to sink.

This morning, the LÉ Orla escorted the passenger vessel St Bridget, which carried families of the deceased to the wreck site, where a minute’s silence was held at 8am.

At 9.50am this morning, An Post staff nationwide observed a minute’s silence in memory of 21 of their colleagues who lost their lives aboard the ship.

Around 9,000 people paused to remember postal sorters who were among the first people killed in the attack, and were in the ship’s mailroom when tragedy struck.

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An official State centenary event took place at Moran Park in Dún Laoghaire and ended just after midday.

There, An Post unveiled a commemorative stamp which will be available to buy from the GPO and irishstamps.ie.

Later today, the wreck of the RMS Leinster will come under the protection of the National Monuments Act, which covers all shipwrecks over 100 years old.

At 6pm, historian James Scannell will deliver a talk on the torpedoing of the RMS Leinster at Pearse Street Library.

This will be followed tonight by a special performance at Dun Laoghaire’s Pavilion Theatre, in which the story of the RMS Leinster will be remembered through music and dramatised readings.

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Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan released a statement in which she expressed the importance of marking the anniversary of Ireland's worst ever maritime disaster.

“Today, we remember each and every one of those who perished and the countless families on both sides of the Irish Sea and as far afield as America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who grieved for their terrible loss,” she said.

“We remember too the members of the crew of UB-123, who themselves were killed one week later.

“We pay tribute also to the heroism and kindness shown by the rescue services, nursing and medical personnel in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.”