Mayo Titanics Wistful Eye

Denise Kelly was born in Manchester, of a Mayo mother and an Antrim father. Titanic's Deli was on Waterloo Road, near to where she lived in Cheetham. She recalls the big jar of pickles in the window, with a red pepper cut into the shape of Titanic.

Joseph Abraham Hyman was a steerage passenger on RMS Titanic who was saved in Boat C. He returned to Manchester in 1913 and established his kosher delicatessen, J.A. Hyman Ltd. His family continue to run a store called "Titanics". Read that Titanic story.

Denise's maternal grandmother, Kate Mullins, always maintained she had migrated to New York on Titanic and, after some years over there, had returned to Aughamore Co Mayo, married James Lyons, the boy next door, and had eight children. The family disbelieved her Titanic story.

Many years later, Kate having passed on, her sailing ticket for the Luisitania was found amongst her possessions.

However, decades later, Denise's family history research uncovered a grisly family tragedy on her father's side. Various letters and source documents revealed there was indeed a Titanic connection, but to her paternal great grandfather. She was moved to observe how the opulent lifestyles of the first class passengers contrasted so sharply with the precarious day-to-day existence and harsh working conditions of the men who actually built the big ships, and intrigued to learn also of her ancestor's involvement with the General Strike of 1919 and with the violent shipyard expulsions of the 1920s, and so she set out to research and record this.

Set against the background of the construction and demise of the White Star Line's iconic yet ill-fated super liner, this account is based on the true story of the Denise's great grandfather.

It is 1910 and 56 year old William Henry Kelly, a caulker at Belfast's Queen's Island shipyard, is engaged in building Titanic when Belle, his wife of 30 years, is brutally murdered.

The story of an ordinary but intelligent working man's battle with social injustice and with his own demons, is told with pathos, humour and an affection for the characters.

Click here to access Denise's website and learn more of her story.

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