EXHIBITION: The Mission & the Titanic

No account of pre-WWI trans-Atlantic Irish emigration would be complete without the story of the Irish on the Titanic. Fifty-four men, fifty-four women and five children boarded the Titanic at Queenstown. Irish girls arrived on the boat deck from steerage in time to get into Boat 15, the next to the last boat lowered from the starboard side of the Titanic at 1:35am. The Titanic went down at 2:20am. Irish girls survived at a slightly better rate than steerage women. Thirty-two women (56%) were rescued; nine men were rescued. No Irish child survived.

Survivors from the Titanic who arrived in New York aboard the Carpathia were taken to the Mission. Later, they were invited back to the Mission on April 28th, 1912, for debriefing and to receive a share of the money donated to survivors. A Titanic survivor, who died in 1993, was Nellie (Ellen) Shine, the grandmother of New York City Council Speaker, Christine C. Quinn.

The piper, Eugene Daly, played “Erin’s Lament”on the stern of the Titanic as the ship left Cork Harbor. He was one of the steerage men who roused the Irish girls who were then able to escape from the sinking ship.