1912 – The Titanic, the world’s largest ship built at Belfast’s Harland and Wolfe, hits an iceberg. On board are three passengers from Clare.
Martin McMahon (20), Daniel Keane (35) (pictured right) and Mary Agatha Glynn (19) (pictured left) were the County’s sole passengers on the ill-fated liner, which sank after colliding with an iceberg on its maiden transatlantic crossing from Southampton (UK) to New York (US) in April 1912.
Mary Agatha, a native of Flagmount, survived the sinking while the bodies of the two Clare men were never recovered. After being rescued in Life Boat 13 by the Carpathia and taken to New York, the Third Class passenger carried on to Washington, where she lived until 1955. The East Clare native died aged 61.
Farm labourer Martin McMahon from Cragbrien, Tiermaclane, also a Third Class passenger, died in the world’s most famous maritime disaster along with 35-year-old Daniel Keane from Gallows Hill in Cratloe. Mr. Keane, a second class passenger, had planned to travel on to St Louis, Missouri, after arriving in New York City. Mr. Keane’s body, if recovered, was never identified.
Reporting on Martin McMahon, The Clare Journal reports on 29th April 1912: “A telegram received in Ennis during the week confirmed the worst fears that had been entertained as to the safety of a young man named Martin McMahon, from the Craigbrien district, about five miles from Ennis. It was known that he was a passenger on the ill fated boat, and though his name did not appear in the list of survivors, it was hoped he might have been rescued, but it is now definitely stated he has been lost. He was a fine athletic young man and very popular in his native district. It is said that some West Clare people were on board, but our enquiries failed to trace their names and addresses.”
One of three Olympic class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line, Titanic was designed by Thomas Andrews from Co. Down and built in Belfast at Harland and Wolf Shipyard. In total, just 712 of the ship’s 2,228 passengers were saved. Records show that 110 Irish lost their lives and 54 survived the sinking.