In honour of Independence Day on July 4th, we have come up with a fun list of connections between Mayo North and The United States of America. Enjoy!
The Lahardane Addergoole Titanic Memorial Park – honouing the Addergoole 14
On Thursday 11th April 1912, one hundred and thirteen steerage passengers (third Class) boarded Titanic at Queenstown (Cobh) in Cork. Fourteen of these passengers were from Addergoole Parish (Lahardane).
Eleven of these fourteen died when RMS Titanic sank on her maiden voyage, east of Newfoundland, having struck an iceberg. These Titanic passengers are known locally as the Addergoole Fourteen.
In memoriam of the Addergoole 14, The Titanic Memorial Park was built and officially opened in 2012.
The most evocative element of the park is the ‘Addergoole Hearth’ which is made from stone from each of the houses the Addergoole Fourteen departed. The symbolism of the hearth draws on a charming tradition from times past that when a family emigrates, leaving behind a vacant homestead, a neighbour or relative would take an ember from the last fire that burnt in that homestead on the last night that the family slept within its walls. That ember would be added to the neighbour’s or relative’s fire so that when the migrant family or a member of the family returned their fire would have never gone out.
For more info visit addergoole-titanic.com
Fr Patrick Peyton, The Rosary Priest
Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. was born on 9th January 1909 in the townland of Carracastle in Attymass , Co. Mayo. At the age of 19 he and his brother, Tom, emigrated to the United States to join with their sister, Nellie.
His wish from boyhood was to be ordained a priest but his family in Ireland were unable to meet the cost of his education. In the United States he returned to full-time education and studied for the priesthood. He was ordained to the priesthood on 15th June 1941.
After recovering from tuberculosis, Fr. Peyton was so grateful to the Blessed Virgin Mary for his health that he, with the permission of his superiors, began the Prayer Crusade which took him all over the world preaching the importance of prayer, especially family prayer. He staged hundreds of radio and television shows with many of the famous movie stars of Broadway and Hollywood taking part. He was the founder of “Family Rosary” and “Family Theatre”.
His famous slogan was “The family that prays together stays together.”
Today, you can visit the Fr. Peyton Centre in Attymass which commemorates Fr. Patrick’s life.
The Irish Hunger Memorial
The Irish Hunger Memorial is located on a 0.5-acre in the Battery Park City neighbourhood of Manhattan in New York City and is dedicated to raising awareness of the Great Irish Famine. The memorial also incorporates a reconstruction of an authentic Irish cottage of the 19th century.
The cottage at the memorial is from Carradoogan in the parish of Attymass in County Mayo. The cottage belonged to the Slack family but was deserted in the 1960s.
The Slack family donated the cottage to the memorial in “memory of all the Slack family members of previous generations who emigrated to America and fared well there.”
President Joe Biden
Most of the immigrants in the President’s family were born in the early decades of the 19th century and made the journey to America mid-century, so the Famine was undoubtedly a key factor in their departure.
Vice President Biden’s Irish American mother was born in 1917 to Ambrose Finnegan and Geraldine Blewitt. In his Blewitt line, it was Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather, Edward, who made the decision to emigrate to America in 1851.
Mr. Biden’s ancestral home was traced back to Garden Street, Ballina, Co. Mayo which he visited on June 22nd 2016, and was greeted warmly by thousands of people. A mural honouring the President was unveiled across the road in November 2020, painted by artists Smiler Mitchell and Leslie Lackey.
A few more random facts involving Irish-American connections:
In 1800, the population of Ireland was almost twice as large as that of the United States. By 2000, America’s population was about 60 times that of Ireland.
33.3%: Percentage of people of Irish ancestry in the USA, 25 or older, who had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
34.5 million: Number of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry
150,990: Number of Irish-born naturalized U.S. residents in 2011.
7: Number of places in the United States named “Shamrock”, the floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and Shamrock, Texas, were the most populous, with 1,585 and 1,929 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had 228 residents and Shamrock, Okla., 101. Three Shamrock Townships in Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri had populations of 1,273, 301 and 40, respectively.
40%: The percentage of American presidents with some Irish ancestry, according some historians.
13%: the number of places in the United States that share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin.
$532.1 million: The total value of alcoholic beverages (except wine) and related products imported to the USA from Ireland
€11 million: The value of beef imported from Ireland to the USA in 2015.
And finally …
The tune of the “Star Spangled Banner” was composed by the great blind Irish harper Turlough O’Carolan, who died about 35 years before the American Revolution.