Thursday, 25 November 2010 17:57
auline Barrett, in her just published The Addergoole Titanic Story, combines the precision of the historian with undoubted talent as a writer. What novelist would not be proud to pen the following, vivid, description of the April morning in 1912 when the 14 young people from Addergoole Parish (Lahardane) placed their meagre luggage on a side car in preparation for the long journey to Queenstown (Cobh) Harbour? She wrote: "Day was just breaking and within
the hour it would be time to leave. A sadness lingered in every home that morning of departure and in every kitchen an emptiness, broken only by the echo of shoes across the flag floor, or the gentle swish of a garment.
"Little was spoken.
"In those final moments who can say what ran through the minds of our emigrants, knowing that very soon they would be parting from their loved ones.
"Walking out the door of their childhood homes, maybe for the very last time and never again seeing mother, father, sister brother or neighbour."
The publication of the Addergoole Titanic Story is part of the 100th anniversary commemorations of the RMS Titanic in the north Mayo village which provided fourteen passengers for the ill-fated liner. Group pictured at the launch of Pauline Barrett's new book.
Only three of that 14 - who were all in steerage (third class accommodation) - survived.
As Ms. Barrett points out in the foreword to her book, for many decades the story of the fourteen passengers from Addergoole, was rarely spoken of being too painful to recall but remembered in their hearts of their people.
"This book", she says, "is an opportunity to look back at the tapestry of their lives, the events that shaped them, the journey they undertook and the tragedy that befell them.
"A time so very different from our own and yet in our hearts to similar. A time of past and present, a time to redeem and tell their story."
The young and old of Addergoole, as well as many from further afield, mingled in Murphy's Pub, Lahardane, on Friday night for the launch of the long awaited publication.
Ms. Barrett and other speakers such as Dr. Paul Nolan and 'Toss' Gibbons of the Addergoole Titanic Society (ATS) skilfully laid down the background to the sad exodus.
The 'Addergoole 14', they explained, were born at a time when emigration was endemic in rural Mayo.Group pictured at the launch of Pauline Barrett's new book.
It was a time of want – a case of inheritance or exile.
Decades of emigration had become an acceptable way of life creating a thriving business countrywide for agents and shipping lines.
Weekly advertisements in the local papers informed of travel details, opportunities and a choice of sailings for intending passengers which are liberally illustrated with photographs old and new. If you want a copy I suggest you ring the author, Pauline, directly at (086) 2180019.
Pauline, by the way, is a relative of James Flynn from the townland of Cuilnakillew who lost his life in the tragedy.