Longford & the Titanic 1912 - 2012
2012 saw the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic with events taking place globally to mark the event. Over 2000 people were on board and of these 14 were from Longford, representing over 10% of the Irish passengers on board. They were:
- David Charters,
- Ellen Corr,
- James Farrell ,
- Katie Gilnagh,
- John and Philip Kiernan,
- Denis Lennon,
- Thomas McCormack,
- Alice, Agnes and Bernard McCoy,
- Katie Mullen
- Margaret and Kate Murphy.
Of these David Charters, James Farrell, the Kiernan brothers and Denis Lennon perished in the disaster. Only James Farrell’s body was recovered. The remainder survived, primarily due to the bravery and persistence of Farrell in particular.
In recognition of the impact of the tragedy on the county an exhibition in was held to raise awareness of the local connection to the Titanic story, with the support of the Heritage Council. The core of the programme was the Longford & the Titanic 1912 – 2012 Exhibition. This was launched on the 13th April 2012 with panels featuring:
- a timeline of events; an overview of the construction and features of the ship as well as on the sinking and demographic information on all of the passengers;
- a biography of all of the Longford passengers;
- the wider reaction to the disaster in particular the efforts of MP JP Farrell whose paper the “Longford Leader” carried stories of ill-treatment of 3rd Class passengers by Thomas McCormack in particular and whose efforts ensured representation – albeit limited – of these passengers in the official British inquiry.
- Additional documents such as reproductions of the passenger and crew lists, 1911 Census returns and the survivor list from the Carpathia were also included.
- A booklet of the exhibition was also produced.
Schools Education Pack
All primary and secondary schools in the county were provided with a Schools Education Pack, with information on aspects of the Titanic’s construction, the demographics of those on board, ephemera, resources and teachers packs. Expanded copies, including plans of the ship, were provided to each library in the county and digital copies provided on the Longford Library website. A creative writing competition for schools was also run garnering 400 entries.
The Longford Historical Society hosted a lecture on the subject by Fr. Tom Murray. A movie night showing A Night to Remember, based on Walter Lord's book, was also held with many audience members dressed in period costume.
In the parish of Killoe, a Titanic memorial garden was created by the community to mark the centenary. Called the James Farrell Titanic Memorial, it is dedicated to the memory of James Farrell, Katie Mullen and Katie Gilnagh. James Farrell, tragically lost his life on Titanic, but not before saving the lives of his friends Katie Mullen and Katie Gilnagh.
The memorial was officially opened in the village of Ennybegs on the 15th April 2012. In attendance were the relatives of the Longford passengers, including the nephew and family of James Farrell who visited from Miami, Florida with his family for the occasion. A civic reception was held by Longford County Council to honour the families of the passengers.