Graham Masterton

For Wiescka, with all my love.

For Roland and Kirsty; for Dan and Sarah; and for Luke. With thanks to An Garda Siochana for their good- humored help; and with deep appreciation to all of those people inCork who made us welcome.

'Ar scath a cheile a mhaireas na daoine.'

'People live in one another's shadow.'

Irish proverb

Author's Note

The Cunard liner Lusitania set sail from New York on May 1, 1915, bound for Liverpool, England, even though the German authorities had published warnings in U.S. newspapers on the very morning of her departure. By this stage of the war, a considerable number of British merchant ships had already been sunk by German submarines, but it was thought that the Lusitania's superior speed would enable her to outrun any U-boat attack.

On May 7, as she approached southern Ireland, Captain William Turner was warned that there was U-boat activity in the area and that three British ships had already been sunk in the waters through which he intended to sail. However, he maintained his course and even-inexplicably-slowed down.

As the Lusitania approached Queenstown harbor (now called Cobh) she was sighted by the submarine U-20 under the command of Kapitan leutnant Walther Schwieger. He fired a single torpedo, which penetrated the Lusitania just below the waterline. The first explosion set off a devastating secondary blast, and the huge liner sank in 18 minutes, with the loss of 1,195 of the 1,959 men, women, and children who were on board her, including 123 Americans.

In a note to her embassy in Washington on May 10, 1915, Germany gave various unsatisfactory explanations about the disaster, and eventually even struck a medal to commemorate U-20's successful action. President Wilson and the American public were outraged, and more than any other single event, the sinking of the Lusitania turned public opinion and led to the United States entering the First World War.

Many questions still hang over the incident. At the time, it was claimed that the huge secondary explosion was caused by contraband American munitions hidden in the liner's hold. But recent dives on the wreck of the Lusitania showed lumps of coal scattered all over the seabed-suggesting that the most likely cause was a coal-dust explosion in her almost empty bunkers.

What still remains unanswered is why Captain William Turner slowed down. He claimed that he was worried about fog, but he couldn't explain why he was so close to shore, and why he was taking no evasive action.

A memorial to all those who died on the Lusitania stands today in the center of Cobh, the figure of a sorrowing angel.

A Selected Guide to Cork Slang

Corkonians have a distinctive accent of their own, which sounds very different from the Dublin brogue which is usually presented as 'Irish' in movies and television. They also have their own local slang vocabulary, although many of their expressions are used throughout the Republic. Some phrases date back to the days of Elizabeth I, and are a living memory that Sir Walter Raleigh and other Tudor sailors used to dock in Cork , which is the second deepest harbor in the world.

Men and women of any age commonly address each other as 'boy' and 'girl.' Even a temporary departure will elicit the remark 'Are ye going away?' followed by the reassurance that 'I'll see ye after.'

Acting the maggot: behaving foolishly or annoyingly.

Bags: making a mess of a job-'he made a bags of it.'

Banjaxed: broken.

Bazzer: a haircut.

Bodice: spare ribs.

Bold: naughty-'you're a very bold boy.'

Claim: fight-'I claim ya.'

Codding: teasing or fooling-'I'm only codding.'

Craic: good fun and stimulating conversation.

Craw sick: hung over.

Culchies: hayseeds or country people.

Cute hoor: sly, untrustworthy man.

Desperate: in a bad state.

Eat the head off: snap at, attack verbally.

Fair play: approval of somebody's actions-'fair play to him, mind.'

Feck: slightly less offensive version of the other word.

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