A folding deck chair from the ill-fated Lusitania salvaged by Blasket islanders in 1915 has been restored and is expected to be put on public display.
More than 1,198 people perished when the liner was torpedoed by a German U-Boat eight miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in Co Cork on May 7, 1915.
The deck chair, as well as some other flotsam from the vessel, was recovered by the Islanders shortly afterward, RTÉ reports.
The chair was used by islanders as a fireside seat. After the evacuation of the Great Blasket in 1953, the chair remained in a shed on the mainland for several decades before it was donated to the Blasket Centre.
The chair can be seen in an iconic photograph taken by Killarney photographer Louis MacMonagle during the evacuation. The image shows the folded chair carried by one of the islanders as they land on Dingle pier.
Director of the Blasket Centre Doncha Ó Conchúir said the chair is of immense cultural and historical value.
"Obviously it's of tremendous historical importance given its connection with the Lusitania and one of the world's greatest tragedies. But it is also very much part of the Blasket story. It's an example of the hard life endured by the people of the Blasket and also illustrates the resourcefulness of the Islanders,” he said.
"The Islanders were always on the look-out for what they called 'raic' [flotsam], often combing the cliffs and inlets. They had heard that the Lusitania had been sunk and they were expecting material to drift northwards towards the island," he added.
The deck chair, which has been restored by master craftsman Pat Broderick, is made of beech and the woven seat is made of rattan.
"The deck chairs on the Lusitania and the Titanic were made by the same company in Liverpool. I was able to save most of the original timber and paintwork, copper screws and hinges. The woven rattan seating had to be replaced as it was rotten. However, I managed to source the same material and the pattern I have woven is identical," Broderick said.
"This chair has seen so much and has a fantastic story to tell. I often wonder about the people who sat on it on the Lusitania. And then on the Blasket itself, can you imagine all the beautiful Irish folktales and songs it heard by the fireside on the Blasket island," he added.
The Office of Public Works has plans to display the deck chair either in the Blasket Centre in Dún Chaoin or on the island itself, in the recently restored house of the "An t-Oileánach ('Islandman') writer Tomás Ó Criomhthain.