In the early hours of 15 April 1912, 110 years ago today, the ‘unsinkable’ Belfast-built RMS Titanic – on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York – went down off Newfoundland with the loss of 1,517 of the 2,223 passengers and crew members aboard. There were nine victims, eight males and one female, from Co. Galway:
1. Dr Arthur Dominick Brewe (1886–1912), born at Marble Hill, Woodford, Co. Galway on 18 August 1866.
2. John Flynn (c. 1864–1912), born in Carrowhekeen, Clonbur, Co. Galway around 1864.
3. Martin Gallagher (1883–1912), born at Currafarry, near Mountbellew, Co. Galway on 18 January 1883.
4. Andrew ‘Andy’ Keane (1890–1912), born at Tobberoe, Derrydonnell, near Athenry, Co. Galway on 7 February 1890.
5. Thomas Joseph Kilgannon (1890–1912) was born at Currafarry, near Mountbellew, Co. Galway on 6 May 1890.
6. Ernest Waldron King (1884–1912), born in the village of Ardrahan, Co. Galway on 29 January 1884.
7. Mary Mullin (1893–1912), born in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway on 31 August 1893.
8. Patrick ‘Pake’ Shaughnessy (1886–1912), born at Tynagh, Co. Galway on 10 May 1886.
9. Thomas Smyth (1886–1912), born at Killeen, Clonbrock, Co. Galway on 23 January 1886.
The body of Ernest Waldron King was recovered by the Minia and laid to rest at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The bodies of the other eight Galway victims, if recovered, were never identified.
Soon after the tragedy, a “strange story” circulated around Banagher (on the Offaly-Galway border), which was reported in the Freeman’s Journal (27 May 1912) and other newspapers. It told of a young emigrant named Tynagh, who was aboard the ill-fated Titanic. The story goes that at the time of the sinking the emigrant’s mother ‘heard a noise outside her house which startled her, and caused her to look towards the door. Just then she saw the figure of her son approaching her in the same attire that he wore the morning he left. She wondered very much at his return, and thinking he had changed his mind, with outstretched arms and gladness in her heart, she rushed forth to embrace him when suddenly the figure vanished’. There was no-one by the name of Tynagh among the victims, but Patrick ‘Pake’ Shaughnessy, who hailed from the village of Tynagh, about 25km west of Banagher, was lost. He was survived by his widowed mother, Ellen.
The only female among the Galway victims was Mary Mullin, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Clarinbridge shopkeeper Delia Mullin. Mary had eloped with twenty-year-old Denis Lennon from Co. Longford, who worked for her mother as a shop assistant. Mary’s brother, Joseph, reputedly followed the pair as far as Queenstown (Cobh), Co. Cork, with a loaded firearm to dissuade the runaways but, literally, missed the boat. As a sign of future intent, they signed aboard the Titanic as ‘Denis and Mary Lennon’. They both perished at sea.
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