Irish Aboard Titanic

Who has not heard of RMS Titanic? The unsinkable ship that sank on her maiden voyage off the coast of Newfoundland, in the early hours of 15th April 1912 after hitting an iceberg; 1,517 lives lost, 711 saved. Several films have been made through the years, books are in abundance and the word "Titanic" is associated with herculean struggles and immense disasters of any kind, for instance it has frequently been used in the press recently, when reporting on the national and global recession. In ancient Greek history the Titans warred with Zeus for control of Mount Olympus.

Mayo has an immense Titanic heritage. Much of it still only partially told. Who has heard of Iceberg Gallagher from Dooagh on Achill Island, or Patrick Bourke from Carrowskeheen in Addergoole? Both intended to, but did not board Titanic at Queenstown. Paddy Cawley from Cum in Addergoole often said later in his life, but that for a night out celebrating, he would have boarded Titanic at Southampton. As we move towards the century of the sinking in April 2012 it is important to find out and document this heritage, so that it can be shared along with the rest of the world, as the global commemoration of the sinking takes place. The White Star Line ship may have been built in the dockyards of Belfast; docked at the quaysides of Southamption and Cherbourg, and used tenders at Queenstown, but it is Mayo with its history of immigration that portrays a very human side to this maritime disaster.
Senan Molony "The Irish Aboard Titanic" published in 2000.

 Senan Molony's The Irish Aboard Titanic, 2000

A very readable iconic book about Titanic's Irish crew and passengers is Senan Molony's published in 2000; "The Irish Aboard Titanic". It deals in detail with Addergoole's passengers. In September 2001 Senan wrote to Addergoole, on behalf of the Irish Titanic Historical Society, asking why the parish had no memorial to its Titanic passengers. This letter was instrumental in the Addergoole Titanic Society erecting the memorial in 2002. He wrote: "I know there was talk after the big movie a few years ago about Lahardane erecting some kind of memorial to those people who travelled in 1912, all but a handful of whom were lost." Senan Molony provided the extract from the Titanic Commutator (1996) on Norah Fleming, which is attached to her biography under the Addergoole Fourteen page. The 2nd edition of his book will be published in time for the centenary commemorations in April 2012.

A further excellent source on the biographies of all Titanic's crew and passengers is available on the website of "Encyclopedia Titanica", whose website address is given on our links' page. The biographies of all Addergoole's passengers and Luke Duffy, the crew member from Castlebar Mayo, are available on this site, but Mayo's Titanic experience is not brought together. The collection of newspaper articles on Encyclopedia Titanica's site is first class.

Molony aptly points out in "Titanic Victims and Villains" published in 2008; "Why is so much heroism attached to the sinking of the Titanic? Why do we accord impossible glory to the miserable, misbegotten drowning of the equivalent of a small town?"

Stories like Addergoole's Titanic experience, and Caltra's, a small village in Galway with five passengers where three men perished and two women survived, need to be more widely known. There are other small places too with large losses; the Lebanese villages of Kfar Mishki where eight lost their lives and Hardeen where twelve perished. These locations, and there may well be others, are the human side of the emigration shipping trade. As such, they have an important place alongside Cobh, Cherbourg, Southampton, Liverpool, Halifax in Nova Scotia and New York for Titanic's centenary commemorations. There were 37 people on Titanic from Connacht, the smallest and most westerly of Ireland's four provinces which includes the four counties of Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. Only eight passengers and crew from this province survived. Click for analysis.

Our community website concentrates on Addergoole's fourteen travellers as a group; known locally as the Addergoole Fourteen. We have exciting plans for the centenary in April 2012. Addergoole will have its Titanic legacy.

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