Written in partnership with RMS Titanic, Inc.
In western Ireland, within County Mayo, lies Addergoole — a parish that in 1912, like much of Ireland — was recovering from the Great Irish Famine. Seeking refuge from hunger, disease, and death, 14 members of this small community ranging from age 17 to 42, boarded Titanic on April 10, 1912, carrying with them the hopes and dreams of better lives in the Land of Opportunity — America.
The Addergoole 14’s Living Wake
Traditionally wakes are held for the deceased but, in the 1900s, due to the costs of overseas travel, on occasion the Irish Catholics would sometimes conduct living wakes to say their goodbyes. Before the group of Addergoole 14 boarded Titanic, their close-knit parish hosted a living wake to say farewell.
Pat Canavan: A Mother Knows
Pat was to board Titanic en route to his sister Kate’s home in Philadelphia. As he said his last goodbye to his mother, she gave him a gold coin that fell out of his hand and onto the floor. His mother took this as a bad omen. She may have been right.
Delia McDermott: A Strange Encounter
A few days before Delia boarded Titanic with her Third Class ticket and a new hat and gloves gifted from her mother, a stranger crossed her path. He told her she was going on a journey, there would be a tragedy where hundreds would die but she would be saved. Then he disappeared. After the collision, Delia — already in a lifeboat — remembered her mother’s gift, the hat and gloves, and went to the cabin to retrieve them. When she returned, she secured another seat in a lifeboat. Because of that she was one of the three Addergoole survivors and the only Titanic survivor who had gotten into two lifeboats.
Catherine, John and Mary Bourke: Unwilling to Leave
Catherine (Kate) McHugh, her childhood sweetheart and husband John Bourke, and his sister Mary were part of the Addergoole 14. They were in Third Class quarters and, because of that, likely to have felt the collision. After the initial commotion, the three of them made it to the deck. The women were allowed to board a lifeboat, John was not. Kate stood valiant, “I’ll not leave my husband”; Mary joined in, “I’ll not leave my brother.” They exited the lifeboat and freed up a seat for Annie Kate Kelly, also from Addergoole.
Addergoole Titanic Memorial Park
Opened in April 2012, the park features eleven life-size effigies dressed in 1900s fashions to represent those that perished. The path leads to a 15-foot-high bronze bow symbolizing Titanic. At the heart of the park is a cottage hearth made of stones from the original ruined homes of the Addergoole 14; next to the fireplace are plaques that list the names of the survivors and victims.
The 11 passengers who perished of the Addergoole 14 are thought to be the largest proportionate loss from one locality and represented .3% of a population of only 3,496.
The Addergoole 14
- Catherine Bourke, 32, Lost
- John Bourke, 42, Lost
- Mary Bourke, 40, Lost
- Bridget Donoghue, 21, Lost
- Nora Fleming, 24, Lost
- James Flynn, 28, Lost
- Mary Mangan, 32, Lost
- Delia Mahon, 20, Lost
- Pat Canavan, 21, Lost
- Catherine McGowan, 42, Lost
- Mary Canavan, 22, Lost
- Annie Kate Kelly, 20, Saved
- Delia McDermott, 31, Saved
- Annie McGowan, 17, Saved
St. Patrick’s Church
In 2012, the local church dedicated a stained-glass window to honor the Addergoole 14. It depicts Annie Kate Kelly being lowered into a lifeboat as she waves goodbye to the rest including her cousin, Pat Canavan, who is holding his rosary praying. Annie survived thanks to the sacrifice made by the Bourkes. She became a nun in the Chicago area and devoted her life to the service of helping others. Annie was saved and recounted the last time she saw the Bourkes — they were on the deck, holding on to the railing.
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