A very special visitor to Cobh this Saturday (6th May)

The Moon Car

The Moon Car, the original 1919 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost

There will be a very special visitor in Cobh this Saturday (May 6th) for the official launch of John Jefferies’ new book “Death on the Pier”. This is the yellow Rolls Royce Silver Ghost known as the Moon Car. The book launch takes place at the Cobh Readers & Writers Festival in Cobh’s Promenade – please note the time of this launch is 5.00pm and not the time advertised in the festival brochure. The Moon Car is the exact vehicle that was used in the 1924 attack on Cobh’s Pier Head. After the attack it disappeared and was not seen again until 1981. It was meticulously and lovingly restored a number of years ago by James Black of Lisburn and is now owned by Patsy McSweeney of Ballineen, West Cork. See the Moon Car and learn about its mysterious history in John Jefferies new book at the Promenade on Saturday.

An eyewitness description of the Cobh Pier Head attack

Death on the Pier tells the story of the Cobh Pier Head attack which took place on the evening of 21st March 1924. The book covers the lead-in to the attack, the circumstances in which it took place and the manhunt which took place afterwards. Central to the latter was the 57 year search for the mysterious yellow Rolls Royce known as the “Moon Car”.  The following is an excerpt from the witness statement given subsequently by a local town councillor,  Bartholomew Downing.

“At about ten minutes to seven I was standing on the path just opposite the pier. This big motor car came along, turned opposite the Imperial Hotel, came along and took up a position just opposite the pier head.  Immediately the soldiers came off the launch and were walking across the pier, two machine guns were placed on the side of the car.  Almost immediately I heard the rattle of machine gun fire,  and the next thing I saw was soldiers falling. They fell before it the same as corn before a scythe. It was a wave of men falling. It was a most appalling sight, the like of which I hope to never witness again.”.

1 British soldier was killed in the attack, 18 others were injured, many of them seriously and 5 civilians were also injured, including at least one child.

The shooting was followed by a massive manhunt and the issuing of a £10,000 reward (a huge sum in 1924) for five men named as suspects. The trail of the suspects  stretches from Cork to the European mainland and to the United States.

John Jefferies’ book Death on the Pier and the search for the Moon Car will be published in April 2017.