The Addergoole 14’s 22-kilometre journey from Laherdane village to Castlebar was re-enacted on Easter Sunday. The event was the first of many taking place in the north Mayo parish of Addergoole, home to Laherdane village, as part of Mayo Titanic Culture Week.
Fourteen people from the Addergoole parish travelled by train from Castlebar to Cork, where they boarded the Titanic to New York 100 years ago. Only three of the 14 passengers from Addergoole survived the sinking. The parish suffered the highest proportionate loss of life in the Titanic disaster of any locality in Ireland.
Hundreds of people attended the re-enactment. Fourteen young local people wore period clothing and travelled on pony and trap, as the Addergoole 14 did.
Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson officially opened the Mayo Titanic Culture week and switched on the gable wall light in the window in the new Titanic Memorial Park in Lahardane. The light in the window symbolises the many people who emigrated from Mayo and that the Diaspora were always welcome home.
Throughout the week the village will host a number of events centred on the Titanic sinking, concluding on Sunday with the official opening of a memorial park in the village by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at 3.30pm. The annual bell-ringing ceremony marking the exact time the Titanic sank will take place in Lahardane church on Sunday April 15 between 1am and 3.15am.
During the re-enactment of the Addergoole 14’s final journey to Castlebar, they made two stops, one at Mrs Walsh’s Harware shop/pub (now Eclipse Hair Salon) on Linenhall Street and another at Thomas Durkan’s on Main Street (now Leo Doherty’s), where tickets for the Titanic were bought. Facades of the two shop fronts looked as they did in 1912, thanks to Mayo Arts Squad.
When the cavalcade reached Castlebar Train Station, a bilingual plaque in the memory of the Addergoole 14 and the thousands of other emigrants who passed through the station was unveiled.
Dr Paul Nolan, chairman of the Mayo Titanic Committee told The Mayo News that the story of the Addergoole 14 allowed people to examine emigration from the west of Ireland more closely. A number of the events during the cultural week will explore the topic.
The memorial park in Laherdane, the first park in Ireland dedicated to Titanic victims and Irish emigrants, includes a 12-foot bronze sculpture of the Titanic. It also includes stone houses from the era. A light shines in its gable signifying the emigrants who left the area.
The programme of events for the week also includes a re-enactment of the traditional Irish ‘American Wake’ by local schoolchildren on Wednesday and a night of sean-nós dancing and singing on Thursday in Laherdane.
One of the highlights of the week will be the Mayo Titanic Ball in the Pontoon Bridge Hotel on Friday, April 13. Four hundred and fifty people dressed in either black tie or period dress are expected to attend the ticket-only event.
Dr Nolan said Mayo Titanic Culture Week have been many years in the planning and he praised efforts of the people of Addergoole parish in helping it to happen.
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