Castlebar Town has strong links with one of the world's greatest maritime tragedies. RMS Titanic was the largest Ocean going transatlantic liner in the world that sank on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland at 2.20am on the morning of 15th April 1912. Some one thousand five hundred passengers and crew perished, only just over seven hundred were saved. The century of the sinking is fast approaching. Castlebar has a place in these commemorations which will take place worldwide.
The tickets for the 14 Mayo passengers were purchased in Castlebar, either from Mrs Walsh Linenhall Street, where Eclipse Hairdressers is today, or Thomas Durkan Main Street, now Leo Doherty's. Eleven Mayo passengers perished.
The Addergoole Fourteen left Lahardane in the early hours of 10th April and went by horse drawn trap and side car up the Windy Gap into Castlebar and onto the station for the 8.20am train for Queenstown, where they boarded Titanic the following morning around 11am. There is a memorial plaque in St Patrick's church Lahardane, erected in April 2002; two stained glass windows were recently installed either side of this memorial, one has a Titanic theme. A Titanic memorial park is in the process of being created in the centre of the village.
William Luke Duffy, who lost his life on Titanic, was born in October 1875 in Main Street. William was an Engineer's Clerk; he left a wife and young child in Southampton. It was his first voyage. He is named on memorials in Southampton, Glasgow, London and Liverpool.
Sadly Titanic also claimed another life. John Young from 11 Ellison Street was a soldier in the Connaught Rangers. He was stationed in the Curragh. The Kildare Observer of 27th April 1912 carried this news:
"Private John T Young (33) based on the Curragh with the Connaught Rangers, was so overcome with grief at the loss of his younger brother Francis (30), on board the Titanic that he shot himself. John had been a corporal and had recently been reduced to private. As a store man he slept alone in the store where he had access to a carbine which he used to inflict the mortal wound. The Young's were natives of Castlebar County Mayo."
The Irish Independent carried a similar piece on 10th May, as did the Western People on 18th. The Young family lived at 11 Ellison Street. John's father was a prison warder. His brother Francis may have been a seafarer, but he was not on RMS Titanic. John unfortunately took his own life in the mistaken belief that he was. The Francis Young who perished on Titanic was born in 1879 at 28 Russell Street Southampton. Initial news of Titanic sinking was very muddled and the list of who had survived and who was lost confusing and often inaccurate, so it is not surprising that John Young believed his brother was involved in the disaster. In the Lahardane locality there were several inaccuracies on casualties that caused great pain when the true results were known in early May. On the list of those lost Bridget Donohue was listed as Bart Donohue, Mary Canavan as Mary Concannon and Mary Mangan as Mary Mannion.
As part of Mayo Titanic Cultural Week 8th -15th April 2012 a re-enactment of the journey by pony trap and sidecar from Lahardane to Castlebar station starts the week on Sunday 8th April. This re-enactment will include a stop in Linenhall Street where some passengers bought their tickets at a business premises owned by Mrs. Walshe and on Main Street where passengers bought their tickets in Durcans. The entourage will continue to Castlebar Railway Station, where passengers caught the train en route to Cobh to board the ill-fated Titanic.
A motion was unanimously passed at Castlebar Town Council on Thursday December 8th 2011 proposing that a suitable memorial be erected at Castlebar Railway Station to commemorate those who have emigrated from our shores and in particular to commemorate those who boarded the train at Castlebar and lost their lives on the ill-fated Titanic.It is hoped that this memorial willbe unveiled to co-incide with the re-enactment.