Titanic Church Bell Ringing Ceremony 2011

The ceremony with the very topical theme of emigration was quite a remarkable event. Gillian Marsh and her team from GMTV filmed the occasion for the forthcoming documentary on our Addergoole Fourteen.

Also present were Donncha O Dulaing RTÉ Radio 1 and Paddy O'Flaherty BBC Northern Ireland.

The evening started in Murphy's lounge with a presentation to the Addergoole Titanic Society of the Titanic banner designed and made by Edward Moyles. Edward, who is Deaf, signed his presentation talk, whilst his wife Frankie interpreted. The banner is an amazing piece of craftsmanship.

Paul Nolan then introduced Cllr Michael Bourke, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, who officially opened the night. Also present were Mayo County Council Manager Peter Hynes, and Cllrs Henry Kenny and Al McDonnell, and Dáil Éireann Representatives John O Mahony and Dara Calleary.

The Bell Ringing Ceremony 2011 started in the early hours of the morning with the procession of the relatives holding candle lit lanterns, walking under the stars and bright moon through Lahardane village.

Lively young traditional musicians led the relatives into the church grounds. This was to remember the tradition of the live "American Wake", where musicians played to lighten the mood of the impending journey and the possibility that those leaving might never return.

Dr Nolan gave an opening address and throughout the ceremony gave a commentary on what was happened on the night Titanic sank to the 14 passengers who left the village in 1912. Many people commented that it brought a tear to their eye listening to the harrowing details of what our emigrants experienced that night, and the recitations:

  • Why the Addergoole Fourteen left our village in 1912
  • The letter by Annie Kate Kelly about her proposed immigration
  • How the fourteen prepared for the journey
  • The American Wakes prior to their leaving
  • The long journey to Cobh and who they were travelling to.

Throughout the ceremony there were songs and music. 95 year old Tom Rowland, accompanied by his son Gerry, sang the very old folk song "Thousands are sailing to Amerikay". Tommy Canavan played the "Jaw's Harp", one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. Eamon Moore sang the poignant" Kilkelly, Ireland", where emigrant sons and their father left at home in Mayo, correspond by letter in the late 1800's. Teresa Canavan and Karen Lynn sang the "Water is Black" written by Teresa relating to the tragedy of Titanic's sinking. Throughout there were slow airs from the talented young musicians; James Bourke, Sean Mulhern, Aodhan Cronin and Rebecca O Callaghan

At 2.20am, the time Titanic foundered; relatives tolled the bell in turn to commemorate our Addergoole Fourteen. Davy Donoghue then laid a wreath and Bridie Syron recited a prayer for emigrants.

Click here to read or download a copy of the 2011 pamphlet with the order of the ceremony, and the names of the narrators, bell ringers and musicians.

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