No stop at Queenstown as Lusitania resumes Atlantic crossing
The Cunard Company has issued instructions to the effect that neither the Lusitania nor the Mauretania will enter the harbour at Queenstown in Co. Cork in future. The vessels will nevertheless continue to halt outside the harbour to collect and deposit mail whenever the weather permits. The instruction received by Cunard officials at Queenstown read:
‘Please note that after the 24th inst the Lusitania and Mauretania will cease to call at Queenstown. We shall be glad therefore if you will advise the passengers that it will be necessary for them to proceed to Liverpool and embark there.’
The company’s instruction comes as the Lusitania resumes its cross Atlantic travels having spent the last eight months in dry dock after trouble with her turbines required an overhaul of the vessel.
From her maiden trip in 1907 until the end of 1912, the Lusitania has made 77 voyages, calling on each occasion at Queenstown. On 59 occasions, she worked outside the harbour, and on 18 occasions entered the inner harbour.
The ending of the Queenstown port stop now has galvanised political and business opposition in Ireland. Earlier this week, a meeting of the Queenstown Urban Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the decision of the Cunard Company as a ‘gross violation of the terms of the contract’ they had struck with the Postmaster-General. The council was of the view that the development would ‘seriously affect the business interests of most of the commercial centres of Great Britain, wherby under existing postal arrangements correspondence for America can be mailed up to a late hour on Saturday for conveyance by the Cunard packets from Queenstown on Sunday morning’. If the Irish port was to abandoned and mail were to be embarked at Liverpool, these facilities would no longer be available.
An editorial in The Freeman’s Journal shares this analysis. It states that ‘a system which worked well for all parts of the Three Kingdoms was, at the dictation of the Cunard Company, to be changed for one that inconvenienced every commercial firm in the British Isles, so far as American correspondence is concerned, put back the hands of the clock in Ireland‘.
Just how far it might potentially damage Ireland can be gauged by looking at the passenger numbers through the port. Last year, 15,593 tourists landed at Queenstown and 26,917 persons left the same port bound for the United States. The loss of this traffic would, it has been claimed, be damaging to the entire island and might see a loss of £500,000 a year in revenues from Ireland.