Tipperary – The Titanic Connection

The Emigrant,” by Joseph Campbell,

The car is yoked before the door, and time will let us dance no more.
Come, fiddler, now, and play for me, ‘Farewell to barn and stack and tree.’
To-day the fields looked wet and cold, the mearings gapped, the cattle old.
Things are not what they used to be, ‘Farewell to barn and stack and tree.’
I go, without the heart to go, to kindred that I hardly know.
Drink, neighbour, drink a health with me, ‘Farewell to barn and stack and tree.’
Five hours will see me stowed aboard, the gang-plank up, the ship unmoored.
Christ grant no tempest shakes the sea, ‘Farewell to barn and stack and tree.’

The RMS Titanic was the largest passenger steam liner of her day, built in Belfast, Ireland, at the Harland and Wolff Shipyard. Of 2,223 passengers and crew, only 706 were saved when the Royal Mail Steamer crashed into an iceberg on its maiden voyage, in the early hours of April 15th 1912. One hundred years later Belfast is commemorating the ship and those that sailed on her. Thomas Andrews designed mammoth ship was 882 feet long and had a gross tonnage of 45,000 ton. After hitting the ice berg it took just two hours and 40 minutes for her to sink.

There were 341 Irish people on the Titanic and 6 of these were natives of Co.Tipperary. Five were travelling as third class passengers and one was a Stewardess. In total there were 706 third class passengers on board – 462 men, 165 women and 79 children. Only 178 third class passengers survived the disaster – 75 men, 76 women and 27 children.

Tipperary Passengers On Board Titanic

Name: Miss Catherine Walsh – Age:32 years – Marital Status: Single – Last Residence: Southampton Hampshire England (Native of Clonmel, Tipperary) – Occupation: Stewardess Victualling crew – First Embarked: Southampton England. Catherine Walsh died in the sinking, her body never recovered.

Catherine Walsh from Clonmel, Co Tipperary was one of 1,517 people who died when the White Star Line flagship sank on her maiden voyage on April 15, 1912. Catherine, who was actually married with one child, had to pretend she was single, to get a job on this luxury liner. She had married John Roche in 1897 and moved to London. They had a daughter Kathleen born in 1908. Catherine had wanted to save enough money for the family to move to the US and her Titanic earnings were a key part of this plan.

Catherine’s duty station, on the liner’s F deck, meant that she was close to where the lifeboats loaded passengers; however she had clearly decided to stay at her post. Catherine is remembered by a passenger, Selina Rogers: “We had a very nice stewardess. . . Miss Walsh. I was feeling very sick. The stewardess was very kind and brought me a glass of milk.

Catherine’s now orphaned daughter, Kathleen Roche, was supported after her mother’s death, until she was 19 years old, by small payments from the Titanic Victims Relief Fund. The latter was extremely reluctant ever to discuss the Titanic before her death in 2001 and refused to watch James Cameron’s Hollywood epic, ‘Titanic’.

Name: Mr Edward Ryan – Age: 24 years – Last Residence: Ballinareen House, Emly, Co.Tipperary – Occupation: General Labourer – First Embarked: Queenstown on Thursday 11th April 1912 (3rd Class passenger.) – Ticket No: 383162 (£7 15s) – Destination: Troy United States – Rescued: Boat No 14 – Disembarked: Carpathia New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912 – Died: Tuesday 5th November 1974.

Edward Ryan’s destination was to the home of his sister, Mrs Bridget Welsh, who lived at Troy, New York. Although on the passenger list he had been listed as a general labourer, when he eventually arrived in New York he gave his occupation as ‘Chauffeur.’ Edward wrote a letter to his parents Mr & Mrs Daniel Ryan, Ballinareen House, Emly, Co. Tipperary, dated 6 May 1912, following the event:

Dearest Father and Mother,
I had a terrible experience. I shall never forget it. You will see all about it in the papers which I’ll send on to you. I was the last man to jump into the last boat. I stood on the Titanic and kept cool, although she was sinking fast. She had gone down forty feet by now. The last boat was about being rowed away, when I thought in a second if could only pass out I’d be all right. I had a towel around my neck. I just threw this over my head and left it hang at the back. I wore my waterproof overcoat. I then walked very fast past the officers, who had declared they’d shoot the first man that dare pass out. They didn’t notice me. They thought I was a woman. I grasped a girl who was standing by in despair, and jumped with her thirty feet into the boat. An Italian and myself rowed away as fast as we could, and soon after the great liner sank. We were for seven long hours in the boat, and were nearly dead for the want of a drink. I attribute my safety to Almighty God. We were treated fine on the Carpathia and landed in New York on Thursday. I was released from St. Vincent’s Hospital on Saturday, hale and hearty, even without having a cold, and went on to Troy on Sunday. I’ll tell you more of my experience in my next letter.

In a later statement Mr Ryan said:

I joined the ship at Queenstown, County Cork and had to go out in a tender, about three miles I think, to get on board the ship. The tender looked like a match stick alongside the great liner. A big door opened in her side, and a gangway was put out so we could all get on board. We were shown to our berths, and then taken to see the dining room. A little later we were shown where to get life belts and some of the other life saving gear. None of us ever thought that we would soon be needing it. We soon got used to the ship, and finding our way about, but some of us often got lost trying to find our way back to our cabins after having a look round the deck. It was like going into a strange city.

I had no friends on board, but soon made some, and we had a good time on board dancing, and singing and all kinds of amusements. There was a ships log hung up near the dining room entrance, and we used to read the record of every days run. The last entry I remember seeing was ‘A Calm Sea 22 knots Icebergs Ahead’. We didn’t take very much notice of this; none of us had ever seen an iceberg before.

I was interested in the ship and I wanted a peep in the engine room, I managed to get to know one of the engineers when he was off duty, I asked him if I could see the engines and he let me go halfway down a ladder. I was surprised to see such a mass of machinery with all the dials and gauges. On Sunday afternoon we had some games, and on the Sunday night we had a concert in the dining room, about 300 of us attended and there were some very good turns. Then bed time and for some this was to be their last sleep.

The other two men in my cabin went to bed about 11 pm and were soon fast asleep, I was still up and trying to clean my pipe as it was stopped up, I was looking for a piece of wire but could not find any, at this moment the ship struck the iceberg, the next thing I remember was someone knocking on all the cabin doors as stewards came round shouting, ”All up on deck with Lifesaving Jackets on”.

I woke the men sharing my cabin and told them I thought the ship had struck something, but they didn’t take any notice and went back to sleep. I never saw them again.

I went up on deck and it seemed a very long way up all the ladders and stairs, I found hundreds of people there, and nobody seemed to know what had happened, the ships sirens started to blow and distress rockets lit up the sky.

I stayed on the deck for about half an hour, then I thought of my belongings including £300 cash in my cabin. I went down with the intention of getting my money, but the first look down the bottom ladder I could see the water halfway up the stairs leading down to my cabin. I went back on the deck again and I told a sailor what I had seen, he told me not to tell anybody as there might be a panic. I managed to get to the boat deck although this was really barred to Third Class Passengers. I heard the order to lower some of the boats.

Women and Children First: Some of the women did not want to get in the boats as they said the water was such a long way down and another reason was they did not want to leave their husbands.

The sailors had quite a job getting the boats lowered, as some of the ropes in the blocks were very tight, with them being new. All the men passengers could do was just to watch. When the last boat was lowered things looked very grim, everybody near me started praying.

There were still about 1,500 people on board including women and children, the Titanic was sinking fast now and the deck was at a steep angle. Some men started to climb up the ropes supporting the masts, and everyone was making for the highest part of the ship. At this time there was some panic among the people, everybody knew there was little chance of being saved. I looked over the side of the ship and could hear people shouting around the stern of the ship. I left the boat deck and went down to the main deck, and then back to the stern, where I had heard people shouting there were a few people on this part of the ship. There was a woman looking down over the stern, and she had been looking down at a boat for a long time. There was a rope hanging down nearby. I said to her ‘It’s only a matter of time now before the ship sinks’, and I said ‘I’ll wind the rope round myself and you can take hold of the part of the rope above me and we’ll try to slide down to the boat below’.

We could just see the boat and we could hear the people, the distance down from the stern to the boat was about 30 feet, we came down gently and landed in the middle of the boat, both of our hands were bleeding and I landed on a woman’s shinbone and I think I took away the skin but she didn’t seem to mind. The lifeboat it appeared had left the boat deck half an hour before, the reason why they hadn’t got far away from the ship was that the sailor in charge had hurt his arm, but we pulled away about a 100 yards before the ship sank. I found I still had my pipe in my pocket, so I scraped around in my pocket lining for some tobacco dust and lit up. This seemed to offend one of the first class woman passengers in the boat, because she asked me not to smoke, possibly she thought I was acting too unconcerned, but the truth of the matter was I was scared stiff and so was every man and woman on board. At this time there seemed to be 100’s of people jumping overboard some with lifejackets on and some without.

The forward part of the ship was now all submerged, the water was up to the bottom of the first two funnels and people were climbing up the slippery deck to get clear of the water.

We had rowed away for about a 100 yards from the ship and then suddenly the stern rose high in the air, and then the ship went straight down. This was followed by two loud explosions there were 100’s of people everywhere in the water, all floating in lifejackets where the ship had gone down. It was pitiful, mothers calling for their children and husbands, the brothers and sisters shouting for each other. This lasted for some time and then everything grew gradually quiet. We knew then about 1,500 people had lost their lives in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

It was a starry night and there was a calm sea, but there was a big swell on all the time. We saw several pieces of wreckage, including the keyboard of a big piano all floating about. This must have come from the Titanic after the two big explosions. We had to try to keep the boats head to the swell all the time as it would have been dangerous otherwise. We rowed all the time mainly to keep warm but with nothing to see only the sea and sky we did not know where we were rowing. Everyone got drenched with spray, and even the boat plug was leaking, and I had to stop this with a bit I tore from my shirt sleeve. After rowing about for some hours we saw a gleam of light very far away this light got brighter as time went on. When daylight came we could see the smoke from the funnel of a ship this ship was the Carpathia, and the most welcome sight we had ever seen. When she came nearer she stopped her engines and started to drift towards us. She couldn’t anchor as we were told afterwards that the sea was nine miles deep there. We rowed to the ship for all we were worth, and at last got alongside.

Everybody cheered from the deck of the ship as we went on board. All were then rigged out with warm dry clothes and shoes, even the Carpathia’s passengers gave us some of their things, and let us have their berths. It was then on to New York.

That is my story of a night I shall never forget.

Mr. Ryan moved back to England three years after the disaster and settled in Hull in 1916 where he worked for Rose, Downs and Thompson Ltd. He was married to Gertrude Annie, and together they had three children, Monica, Norman and Kathleen, latter who predeceased her father. Edward worked as a maintenance engineer and spent his final years in Kingston Old People’s Home, Pearson Park, Hull. He passed away in 1974 aged 86 years, and was buried in the Northern Cemetery, in Hull.

Edward may have been the man whom Officer Harold Lowe pitched violently into another lifeboat during lifeboat 14’s emptying after the sinking, after discovering the agile passenger to be a man.

Name: Miss Katherine (Kate) Connolly – Age: 35 years – Marital Status: Single – Last Residence: Tipperary Ireland – First Embarked: Queenstown on Thursday 11th April 1912 (3rd Class passenger.) – Ticket No: 330972 (£7 12s 7d) – Destination: Dobbs Ferry New York United States. Katherine Connolly died in the sinking, her body never recovered.

Miss Kate Connolly, from Bank Place, Tipperary, boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger. Her destination was Dobbs Ferry, New York. Her mother (also named Catherine) was a shopkeeper. Kate had a sister Margaret who was a music teacher and two brothers, Edward, who worked as a knife sharpener and Richard who was a porter.

Kate lost her life in the disaster. Her body, if recovered was never identified and Kate’s family received £40 from a Relief Committee in England. The American Red Cross offered a sum equivalent to the price of Katie’s ticket to her cousin living in America, who agreed that this money also should be sent to her relatives in Ireland.

Name: Mr Roger Tobin – Age: 20 years – Last Residence: Ballycaron, Cahir, Co Tipperary – Occupation: Farmer – First Embarked: Queenstown on Thursday 11th April 1912 (3rd Class passenger.) – Ticket No: 383121, (£7 15s) – Destination: New York City New York United States. Roger Tobin died in the sinking, his body never recovered.

Mr Roger Tobin, from Cahir, Co Tipperary was travelling to New York City, he boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger and occupied cabin 38 on F-Deck.

Name: Miss Katie Peters – Age: 26 years – Marital Status: Single – Last Residence: Ballydrehid, Cahir, Co Tipperary – First Embarked: Queenstown on Thursday 11th April 1912 (3rd Class passenger.) – Ticket No: 330935, (£8 2s 9d) – Destination: New York City New York United States. Katie Peters died in the sinking her body never recovered.

Katie, who gave her occupation as that of Housemaid, also recorded she was returning from a visit to Ireland. The American Red Cross Emergency Committee refunded $50 to a brother in New York, which he sent to his parents. The English Committee also gave £45 to the family.

Name: Miss Katherine “Katie” McCarthy – Age: 24 years – Marital Status: Single – Last Residence: Ballygartin, Bansha Tipperary – First Embarked: Queenstown on Thursday 11th April 1912 (3rd Class passenger.) – Ticket No: 383123, (£7 15s) – Destination: Guttenberg New Jersey United States – Rescued: Boat Number 15 – Disembarked: Carpathia, New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912 – Laid To Rest: St. Michaels Cemetery, Ballintemple, Tipperary, Ireland.

Miss Katherine “Katie” McCarthy, from Cahir, Co Tipperary, boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger. Her destination was Guttenburg, where she intended to go live with her sister Mrs. John Woolnough, of 107 Twenty-fifth street, Guttenberg. Miss McCarthy was rescued, possibly in lifeboat Number 15 or 16.

Miss McCarthy, daughter of Mr. Patrick McCarthy, farmer, Ballygurtin, midway between Cahir and Bansha, wrote home to her father, stating that she was the second to last, to leave the Titanic on the night of the memorable tragedy.

Miss McCarthy had left home in company with Miss Katie Connolly of Tipperary, Miss Katie Peters, Ballydrehid, and Mr. Roger Tobin, Ballycamon, the latter three being close neighbours of hers.

In a letter from New Jersey, Miss McCarthy wrote:
About twelve o’clock on Sunday night Roger Tobin called us to get up, but told us not to be frightened, as there was no danger. To make sure, however, of our safety, he told us to get lifebelts. There were three of us in the room—Katie Peters, Katie Connolly, and myself. When Roger Tobin called us I wanted them to come up on deck, but they would not come. They appeared to think that there was no danger. That was the last I saw of them. I then left the room, and on going out I met a man from Dungarvan, who took me up to the second class boat deck, where they were putting out the boats. I was put into one boat, but was taken out of it again as it was too full. I was in the last boat to leave the ship, and was the second last person put into it. This was a short time before the ship went down. We were only just out of the way when the ship split in two and sank. We remained in the boat all night until near eight o’clock next morning, when we were rescued by the Carpathia. Our boat was so full I thought it would go down every moment, and one of the boats capsized when we were leaving the sinking ship. I did not, however, feel at all frightened, and did not fully realize the danger and the full nature of the awful tragedy until I was safe on board the Carpathia. When we were put on board the Carpathia we were immediately given restoratives and put to bed. I slept for an hour and then got up, feeling all right. When we landed in New York on Thursday night at eleven o’clock we were met by a number of Sisters of Charity nurses, who took us up to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where we were treated with the greatest kindness.

Miss McCarthy later married Mr. Jon Croke, farmer and merchant and died on Friday 12th November 1948.

3 Responses to Tipperary – The Titanic Connection

  1. Pingback: Cahir Co Tipperary Commemorates Titanic | Thurles Information

  2. Pingback: Tipperary Titanic Passengers | Hidden Tipperary

  3. Helen Tipperary Town says:

    I have just read about the people from here, who were on the Titanic, also visted Cobh last week, what an exsperience. May they all RIP.

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