Addergoole Titanic Society - Unique Titanic Connection with County Mayo Ireland
RMS Titanic, the world’s most famous ocean liner, sank at 02.20am on 15th April 1912. She went down off the coast of Newfoundland en route to America with the loss of 1,517 lives.
What do we know about Titanic? Everyone knows that she struck an iceberg. Most people know she was built in Belfast. Some people know that her last port of call was Queenstown (Cobh) in County Cork, but how many know about her connections with County Mayo, Ireland?
One tiny village in Mayo has a unique story; one of emigration, great sadness and loss, but also of remembrance.
In 1912 emigration was commonplace in rural Ireland. People left the land in their thousands to seek a better life in Britain, Australia, Canada and America. Money was then often sent home to their impoverished families.
Addergoole Parish is located on a flat plain that runs between the majestic Nephin Mountain and scenic Loch Conn in County Mayo. It was here, in this otherwise unexceptional, rural parish, that fourteen people were born, went to school and grew up; destined, like so many others before and after them, to leave their homes and head abroad for what they imagined would be a better life; the answer to all their hopes and fears.
Little did they know the terrible fate that would befall them as they marked their leaving with the traditional live American Wake in their thatched homes around the townlands of Lahardane. Relatives and friends came to wish them well and to give them letters and messages for other relatives in Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York.
They sang and danced into the small hours to the strains of the local fiddler playing jigs and reels. Stories were told and prayers said. ‘Deoch an dorais’, a drink for the road, was drunk and many tears were shed for everyone knew that these young people, the life blood of the village, would settle in America and in all likelihood never return. Little did they know how true this would be, though for entirely different reasons!
They left Lahardane before dawn on the morning of 10th of April 1912 and went by pony, trap and sidecar to Castlebar; their few possessions packed into steamer trunks, wooden valises and carpet bags.
It took nearly three hours to cover the 12 miles over “The Windy Gap” to Castlebar, where they picked up their steamship tickets at Durcans and Walsh’s White Star Line Ticket offices and boarded the Great Western Railway train, as so many had done before them.
They travelled for almost 15 hours by rail, changing trains several times, eventually reaching the busy sea-port of Queenstown. They stayed in one of the many boarding houses in Cobh that night, before gathering at the White Star Line Quay the next morning and boarding a tender which brought them almost 3 miles out into Cork Harbour, to the mighty ocean liner that was to take them to America, the ‘unsinkable’ RMS Titanic.
History tells us what happened next; sadly the unimaginable occurred and our fourteen were thrown into mayhem, surrounded by chaos, their dreams dashed. A fight for survival ensued, ending with the anguished cries of the doomed and the silence that followed after Titanic sank beneath the waves. Just three women from the fourteen survived, eleven drowned.
The Addergoole Titanic Society cherishes the memories of the victims John, Mary and Catherine Bourke, Mary and Pat Canavan, Bridget Donoghue, Nora Fleming, James Flynn, Mary Mangan, Delia Mahon, Catherine McGowan and we also remember the survivors, Annie Kate Kelly, Delia McDermott and Annie McGowan.
To commemorate their memory each year, at 02.20am on the morning of 15th April, we assemble in the grounds of St Patrick’s Church, Lahardane, where we toll the Timoney Bell and listen to vignettes from their short lives. There is a memorial plaque inside the church and either side of it two stained glass windows. One window has an emigration theme and the other a Titanic theme. There is also a Titanic Memorial Park being built in the centre of the village.
To mark RMS Titanic’s Centenary Celebrations in 2012 Lahardane, Ireland’s Titanic Village, will be commemorating the anniversary with a very special cultural week. The Mayo Titanic Cultural Week, running from 8th to 15th April, will remember the traditions of 100 years ago and celebrate the cultural heritage of the area.
Join us on a journey back in time and see what life was like 100 years ago in the west of Ireland. Feel what it must have been like to have been present on the days before our fourteen intrepid emigrants left their village for the last time.
For more information on the story of The Addergoole Fourteen and for further updates please visit our website: www.mayo-titanic.com
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Download a programme of events:
Mayo Titanic Cultural Week Addergoole Fourteen Commemoration Addergoole Programme of events 2012.pdf (2.52 MB, Adobe PDF)