The Addergoole 14 and the Sinking of the Titanic
We have just returned from a short break in North Mayo where we had the opportunity to visit the village of Lahardane and participate in the commemoration of the ‘Addergoole Fourteen’.
These were fourteen local people who were leaving the Lahardane area and travelling via Castlebar, Cobh and then by the Titanic to New York. Before their departure, family, friends and neighbours held an ‘American Wake’ so that they could say their goodbyes before their loved one’s set off.
On the first leg of their journey they travelled to Castlebar Railway Station making two stops on the way. Some of their friends walked along with them on the 22 kilometre journey and after more tearful farewells they boarded the train and set off on the long journey across country to Cobh in County Cork. Here they joined the other 109 passengers waiting to board the great liner for it’s transatlantic crossing. Sadly as we all know, tragedy was imminent and eleven of the original fourteen would lose their lives on the fateful night in April 1912, as the Titanic slowly sank into the freezing waters off the coast of Nova Scotia.
Local musician Teresa Canavan, whose music accompanies our short presentation, has captured the sombre mood of the nights events very well with her specially commissioned track ‘The Water is Black’.
This was to be the greatest loss of life from any one district amongst the Titanic passengers. Back in Lahardane families which had so recently celebrated the departure of their loved ones as they embarked on their ‘new lives’, were now holding real wakes. In lieu of the usual coffins, families placed a picture of their family member on the bed and this became the centrepiece of the mourning.
It was a sad time for all concerned and for many years thereafter the local people continued to grieve for the loss of their loved ones.
In 2001 the Addergoole Titanic Society was established by a group of interested individuals living in the Lahardane area who were determined to commemorate the 14 emigrants who left the village in 1912. Every year the anniversary is commemorated including the ringing of the church bell at 2.20 am on the morning of the 15th April to mark the sinking of the Titanic and the passing of their kin. The bell is never used at any other time of the year and on the night it gets 11 short rings for the 11 deceased and 3 longer rings for the 3 survivors. The Society have also collected funds for two magnificent stained glass windows, one on the theme of emigration and the other showing the sinking of the Titanic. The windows were designed by local artist Michael Coleman of Whitehorn Studios, Lahardane. These are a marvellous memorial to record the ‘Addergoole 14’.
Here at irishfreemasonry.com, our earlier presentations have looked at the building of the ship and the tragedy of the sinking. However we believe that it is important to also record the impact of this disaster on a small local Irish community and we hope that this short presentation will help to place the international disaster into a local context.
The people of Lahardane are to be commened for their dignity, their good humour in the midst of many visitors that they have welcomed recenrt days, including ex-president Mary Robinson and the current Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who both visited the village on different days during the Mayo Titanic Cultural Week, commemorating the 100th anniversary.