The following people from Limerick bought their tickets in advance for the RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage, which sailed from Queenstown, Co. Cork on the 11th April 1912.

  • Joseph Foley (Broadford)
  • Patrick Lane (Limerick City)
  • Daniel James Moran (Askeaton)
  • Thomas O’Brien (Pallasgreen)
  • Patrick Ryan (Askeaton)
  • James Scanlan (Rathkeale)
  • Margaret Madigan (Askeaton)
  • Bertha Bridget Moran (Askeaton)
  • Daniel Keane (Limerick City)
  • Miss Nora A. Keane (Castleconnell)
  • Hannah O’Brien (Kyle)
  • Nellie O’Dwyer (Limerick City)
  • John Kennedy (Limerick City)

There were also passengers from Limerick on board who did not originally plan on sailing on the Titanic. Three were due to travel to New York via the SS Cymric on Easter Sunday, the 7th of April. But due to the coal strike, the Cymric was delayed. They were then transferred to the list of passengers on the Titanic. They were

  • Patrick Dooley (Knockainey)
  • Patrick Colbert (Abbeyfeale)
  • Maurice O’Connor (living in Ballinloughane, but originally from Boherbue, Co. Cork.)

There were also cases where Limerick people who intended to sail on the Titanic  (but not having arrangements completed in time) travelled on the RMS Mauretania the following Sunday.

Profiles of the Limerick passengers
Thomas O’Brien and Hannah O’Brien (née Godfrey) from Grean, Limerick eloped and were taking the Titanic to New York. Hannah was 2 months pregnant at the time. John Kennedy, from 1 Rosemary Place, Watergate, Limerick City, celebrated his 20th birthday by boarding the Titanic and Daniel Moran, Bertha Moran, Patrick Ryan, & Margaret Madigan, were all from Askeaton. They travelled together to Queenstown, Co. Cork and stayed at the McDonnell rooming house at The Beach on the eve of sailing.

Photo taken Fr. Browne of the two tenders side by side as the passengers board.
Photo taken Fr. Browne of the two tenders side by side as the passengers board at Queenstown

Patrick Dooley’s Postcard
The Titanic lowered its anchor at Roche’s Point (3km offshore). Two tenders (smaller boats) carried the new passengers, luggage, mail, reporters, and immigration officers out to the ship to board. Patrick Dooley (38) from Lough Gur, was amongst a crowd waiting to be picked up by one of these tenders to bring them to the Titanic. He wrote a message on a postcard which he sent to his wife

“I am sailing today, Thursday, on the Titanic on her maiden trip to New York, her first trip on the Atlantic. Goodbye, Love, Patrick Dooley”

Young couple
Another young couple from Limerick who were about to board were Bridget O’Sullivan (21) and Joseph Foley (19). Bridget was from Glenduff, Broadford, Co. Limerick and she is moving to NY where her sisters Hanna and Nellie are currently working. Joseph Foley was from Mountplummer, Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick and prior to emigrating he worked as a gardener on a landed estate.

Nora Keane is returning to Pennsylvania

Nora’s Watch

Ms. Nora A. Keane (46) from Castleconnell was also waiting in line. Nora had emigrated to the U.S. in 1893 and had settled down in a place called Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. She was back in Ireland for the past four months visiting her infirm mother. As an appreciation of her visit and to wish her good luck on her voyage home, Nora’s mother gave her an engraved watch. As Nora signed the ship’s manifest she takes 11 years off her age, and stated that she was 35 years old!

The Fireman
Already onboard and working hard as a fireman, is Thomas Morgan (26) who was hired at Southampton. A fireman’s job was to keep the boilers going. Thomas had experience in this area, having worked previously as a fireman on the SS St. Louis.

Stove room of the Titanic
Boiler room of the Titanic. The heat would have been overwhelming.

Patrick Colbert (24) from Abbeyfeale, was heading to New York as the first stage of his journey to Canada. He planned on becoming a religious brother. He saved money for his trip by working as a porter at Abbeyfeale railway station. James Scanlan (22) from Rathkeale is heading to New York to link up with his sister Kate, who emigrated in 1906. Daniel Moran (27) and his sister Bertha (28) from Askeaton were returning to NY after visiting their homeland to resolve the estate of their deceased father. Bertha was an employee at the Peabody Shirt Factory (pictured) in Troy, New York. Daniel was a New York City precinct police officer.

Peabody Shirt Factory, Troy, New York
Peabody Shirt Factory, Troy, New York

Near Bertha Moran, is her former neighbour, Margaret Madigan (21) who hailed from Church Street, Askeaton. Margaret plans to meet up with her brother Simon, who has settled down in New York with a young family. Chatting to Daniel Moran was another Askeaton man, Patrick Ryan (29), who travelled on the same ticket as the Moran siblings (No. 371110) Patrick was a cattle dealer from Toomdeely and is moving to New York to possibly follow in Daniel’s footsteps by becoming a police officer.

Close Call
In Cratloe in Co. Clare, Patrick Tracey, Daniel and Mary Sullivan were making arrangements to emigrate to New York. They walked into the office of Michael Ryan’s on Sarsfield Street (Travel Agent)  to book tickets for the Titanic’s voyage on the 11 April but changed their minds, and decided instead to travel on the vessel’s second voyage which was scheduled to be the 2 May 1912.

Nellie O’Dwyer’s Account
Nellie O’Dwyer (26) was from High Street, Limerick City, she was waiting to board alongside Patrick Lane (16) from 8 Clare Street. Patrick’s parents were there to see him off, and they asked Nellie O’Dwyer to look after him when they eventually arrive in New York. The following is Nellie O’Dwyer’s personal account of the Titanic disaster 1

“I was dozing off to sleep when the ship seemed to jar. I was not frightened, but got up to ask the girls what had made the vessel act so. Then it was still. You know, all day and all night there was a whirr of machinery and when it all stopped it was queer. For the longest while, none of us could find out what was the matter but then some young men who were on the vessel with us from Queenstown told us to go back to sleep. It was nothing. ‘Ye foolish girls, go back to your beds,’ they said to us..” Sure the ship struck an iceberg, but it would take a power of icebergs to harm her.’ So we started to go back, but the boys said they were going up on deck to see the iceberg, for the captain was going to bring it aboard. Of course ’twas fooling us they were. Later we could hear folk running around above & we went up the stairway to the upper steerage deck. Something was wrong, we could see that, but we were not frightened, really.

But then we could hear them shouting to get the life belts. We knew then something must be wrong. We girls and some of the women with us knelt down on deck and said the Rosary. Boats were being lowered and people were being helped into them. Some were almost thrown in. Poor Paddy Lane..he was a fine young fellow and when we were leaving Ireland his folks asked me to please look after poor Paddy in America. As the boats were being lowered Paddy knelt on the deck & prayed. Then he began to run around calling for a Priest. I never saw him again. The captain treated everyone alike whether they were from 1st cabin or steerage. He acted angry towards the men that were pushing forward. The Italian men were worst.

Der Untergang der Titanic

There was a fellow near where I was and they could not get him back and an officer shot him and he fell at my feet. I never heard the ship’s band playing louder. Men were shouting, women were crying for their husbands and children to stay with them…I was among the last, and there was only one boat left. As we came along, the last thing that I saw was the priest waving his arms towards, like as if it might have been absolving us all. The poor man was going toward the steerage. Do you know, we still had no notion that the ship was going down? We were a little afraid getting into the boats. That is all of them, men or women, were afraid, except the stewards. There was a queer look on their faces as they helped us along. I didn’t understand then – none of us did. Now we who were saved know what that look meant. There was some trouble with the nurses. They were supposed to place lifebelts on the people. A few of them tried to escape. The poor girl that was to go into the lifeboat just before me was afraid. She jumped and missed the boat all but one ankle, and a man at the oars grabbed her. She slipped from his hold and was drowned.

I got afraid and an officer lifted me. Some one said ‘Careful, there’, and I was dropped into the lifeboat. She was pulled away and I sat up to look at the big ship. It could not have been more than 7 minutes before there was a terrible explosion. O, God, be merciful to us all! The cries that came from the ship I’ll never forget. I could see before the explosion just dimly the face of a woman who had six children with her on board. I think none of the little ones got up soon enough to be saved. The poor mother never left the ship.

Then those in charge began to give orders keeping the boats a little apart. A while after we could see a boat with a green light on it. We had sixty-five in the boat, and they started taking people out, and putting them in boats that had very few in them. “When they took some of the people from our boat, we had a sailor and an Italian stoker to row us. It was awful, so it was. The Italian knew no English, and he didn’t seem to understand the sailor’s telling him ‘back water.’ There was no other man now. So to try and save the people, I took the oar from the Italian and the sailor and I rowed about as best we could. Sometimes the green light I told you about on that one boat made me think now and then that a ship was coming…and we were afraid it would run us down before we could be saved. We would often mistake a bright star for the top light of the vessel.

Towards morning we rowed over to the place where the Titanic went down, but there were only pieces of wreckage floating…except for the new life belts that poor souls had adjusted the wrong way before they left the ship.”

Meeting Nellie O’Dwyer’s descendant online
While tweeting Nellie’s account of the disaster I was contacted by her great-granddaughter, Julia Ryan. She shared some of her family history with us

“She’s my great-grandmother. She had my grandpa and his twin brother in 1915 but died in 1917 while pregnant with a 3rd child. My family knew [about the Titianic story], we just never talked about it with grandpa because it was a touchy subject. But once the Titanic movie came out, he talked about it more. We took him to see the movie and he got very emotional.”

The victims from Limerick were Patrick Lane, James Scanlan, Patrick Ryan, Daniel Moran, Patrick Dooley, Patrick Colbert, Joseph Foley, Bridget O’Sullivan, Thomas O’Brien and Thomas Morgan.

John Kennedy (20): He went on to enlist in the U.S. Army and died of anthrax poisoning in 1918 at Camp Hancock, Georgia.

Ms Nora A. Keane (46): She settled in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, before returning again to Ireland. She died in 1944 in Limerick.

Margaret Madigan (21): Tragedy, however, did not stay far away as the flu epidemic of 1918 took her husband and only child. She died aged 88 in New Jersey.

Bertha Moran (28): She lost two young husbands after this, one in 1917 and another in the 1920’s. Bertha died on the anniversary of the sinking on the 15th April 1961 in Detroit.

Hannah O’Brien (26): Survived but her young husband Thomas died in the sinking of the ship. Hannah was 2 months pregnant and she later gave birth to a baby girl that she named Marion (pictured). Hannah was also taken by the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918, but her daughter Marion lived to the age of 81, and is buried in Albany, New York.


At the cinema..
One month after the disaster, the local cinematographs in Limerick were showing Pathé gazette reels of the disaster

Ryan vs. White Star Line
Patrick Ryan’s father went on to sue the White Star Line for negligence. This became the test-case for all the families of the victims. He won the landmark case, and was awarded £100 (a years wages) as compensation for his loss.

Epilogue (fundraisers, poems and insurance adverts)

One thought on “The Titanic Disaster: Limerick Connections (Apr 1912)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s