Titanic Church Bell Ringing Ceremony 2010

In the early hours of a not too cold Thursday 15 April, 2010, the people of Lahardane Village in Addergoole Parish, County Mayo, Ireland, and their friends and guests, remembered fourteen emigrants from our parish and the part they played 98 years ago. This year the annual bell-ringing ceremony, with readings, poetry, recitations, emigrant songs and a decade of the rosary, started at 2.00am and finished just after 3.00am. Some 150 people from across Connaught and beyond attended.

After a brief introduction by ATS Chairman, Dr Paul Nolan, the 14 bell ringers were lead to the Timoney Bell by three pipers of the Balla Pipe Band; Sheila Duggan, Breda McCallig and Jim Cronin.

Liam and Donnchadh Ryan from Holycross Tipperary, Karen Lynn and Teresa Canavan of ATS then sang the Ellis Island song: "Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears".

Kevin Rowland recited: "The Emigrant" by Joseph Campbell, "The car is yoked before the door....".

The Timoney Bell was tolled at 2.20am. Christina Bourke said a few words for each of the Addergoole Fourteen as the bell ringer stepped up to ring the bell for that traveller. There were three slow knells for each of the eleven drowned, followed by fast joyous rings for each of the three young women saved.

The bell was then tolled by Michael Kilgannon from Ballinasloe Galway. He is a member of the Irish Titanic Historical Scoiety. Michael is the nephew of Thomas Kilgannon from Curraferry Galway who drowned. Thomas posted a letter to his mother before embarking at Queenstown. Michael read the letter to us before tolling the bell. Eleven steerage passengers were from Galway. Three survived. There was also one crew member, a twenty-one year old steward. He survived.

Two other members of the Irish Titanic Historical Society were present. Máirtín and Betty Reilly from Thurles Tipperary are Titanic enthusiasts, who over the years have visited the graves of the Titanic's victims in Halifax and attended Titanic exhibitions across the world. They met and talked several times with Millvina Dean, the last Titanic survivor who died in 2009. Máirtín tolled the bell. Five steerage passengers were from Tipperary. Two were saved and three lost. There were two crew, both were lost.

Teresa O'Keane read the poem "Lough Conn", composed for the occasion. Just after 3am. Davy Donohue, Bridget Donohue's relative laid a wreath at the end, as 12 year old Aodán Cronin played "The lonesome boatman" on the low whistle.

GMARSHTV from Crossmolina were present, and provided the lighting as well as recording the ceremony for possible future documentary use. This local company is one of Ireland's leading Production Companies with an emphasis on documentary and observational programming in a rural environment.

A team from All Points West Media Services, Culfadda, Ballymote, Co Sligo also joined us for the ceremony and interviewed descendents and others in the Society for a future documentary. A 20 minute podcast of some highlights of the bell ringing ceremony can be listened to, or downloaded from, www.podcasts.ie "Voices from Ireland". Click here to listen.

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