4 February 1998
By Tom Shiel
Local historian, Tony Donohue, who lives at Castlehill, Ballina, sketched this pen picture of some of the Mayo victims of the Titanic tragedy.
Much has been written about the fate of the Titanic and most people know of the tragedy. On Wednesday, April 10, 1912, the Captain, Edward Smith gave the signal for the doomed White Star liner to sail from Southampton. On Sunday night, the 14th it struck an iceberg and there was only twenty lifeboats for 2,207 people. The lifeboats pulled away leaving 1,600 on board the sinking ship. Of the passengers aboard were one hundred from Ireland, who set sail from Cobh. When one examines the passenger list a remarkable item comes into focus. The only passengers from Mayo were fourteen in number, from the parish of Addergoole and the next nearest contingent came from a small hamlet in South Galway. One must conclude that these people were organised probably by one of themselves and perhaps it was one who had been in America and was returning.
Most of them were related or were friends and some research shows, in some cases, a human story which is very touching. Here is the list from Addergoole and the details, where available, of each one.
John Bourke of Carrowskehine, son of William Bourke and Mary O'Boyle; baptised 25-5-1869; age on 1901 Census, 30 years; father and mother dead and step-mother "head of house". Married Catherine McHugh, (2), of Tawnagh, who had been in America, on the 17-1-1911, in Lahardane. She was related to Catherine McGowan of Terry, Massbrook, another passenger.
Mary Bourke, sister of John Bourke of Carrowskehine; baptised on the 11-6-1871; age on the 1901 Census, 25 years. Lost. Local lore says John Bourke bought a new spade that Spring, to put down a crop, but changed his mind and decided to emigrate with his wife and sister to the New World. It has also been said that his wife and sister were in a lifeboat and when they saw that John was to be left behind they returned to the ship and were lost.
Annie Kate Kelly of Cuilmullagh, daughter of John Kelly and Ellen Flaherty; age on 1901 Census, 10 years. She was saved and the writer met this lady many years ago when she came to visit her sister Mrs. Agnes Flanagan of Gortnaden, parish of Crossmolina. Her story was that she got the vacancy, left by the Bourke's, in the lifeboat and was therefore saved. She became a member of an order of nuns in the US and lived a good, long life.
Mary Mangan of Carrowkehine, daughter of John Mangan and Bridget Bourke; baptised 7-9-1879; Mary and her sister, Ellen had returned from America; Mary was engaged to be home marrying Pat Walsh of Tubrid. Mary's gold watch, taken from the body, engraved with her name, is presently in the possession of Mr. Anthony Mangan of Carrowskehine.
James Flynn of Cuilkillew, son of James Flynn and Ann Canavan; baptised 13-9-1883; related to the Kelly's and the Canavan's; age on 1901 Census, 18 years. Lost.
Patrick Canavan of Knockmaria; son of Anthony Canavan and Bridget Kelly; baptised on the 14-9-1890; related to Kelly's and Canavan's; age on 1901 Census, 9 years, lost.
Mary Canavan, Tonacrick; daughter of James Flynn and Ann Canavan; age on 1901 Census, 11 years; first cousin of Patrick Canavan, above; lost.
Honor/Nora Fleming of Carrowskehine; daughter of Thomas Fleming and Mary Callaghan; baptised on the 14-4-1901; age on 1901 Census, 12 years; lost.
Bridget Donohoe of Cum; daughter of David Donohoe and Catherine Moyles; baptised on the 11-1-1891; age on 1901 Census, 11 years; lost.
Catherine McGowan of Terry, Massbrook; baptised on the 30-9-1869; daughter of Anthony McGowan and Bridget Mayock; returned citizen of the US; lost.
Ann McGowan, Terry Massbrook; daughter of John McGowan and Maria McGowan; age on 1901 Census, 4 years, survivor.
Bridget/Delia McDermott, Knockfarnaught; daughter of Michael McDermott and Bridget McDermott; aged 17 years on the 1901 Census; saved and married a Galway man named Lynch, had three in family and lived happily ever after; the local story is that she was one of the first to find a place in a lifeboat but remembered she had a new hat in her cabin, bought in Crossmolina, and returned for it. She was to be saved as she got place in another lifeboat and lived to tell the tale. This account was given to me by her niece, Mrs. Melody of Ballina.
Bridget/Delia Mahon of Derrymartin; daughter of Michael Mahon and Ann Cawley; baptised on the 6-3-1892; age on 1901 Census, 9 years. Local lore tells that Michael, her father, who was originally from Killeen, was the prime mover in the quest for compensation; lost.
Due to circumstannces beyond our control, the names of one or two of the Addergoole victims has been omitted from the above report kindly supplied by Tony Donohue.