Mapping the Irish Lost in the Titanic Disaster

After extensive research and hard graft from all the team at Know Thy Place, we are delighted to say that our R.M.S. Titanic Chart is now complete. It tells the story of the ill-fated luxury liner’s connections with Ireland in a unique and informative way. The centre-piece is a map of Ireland, marking the home places of 129 people from the island that our researchers identified as being lost. Know Thy Place Director Damian Shiels describes some of the intriguing details we found out.

The story of the Titanic’s connections with Ireland begins with the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where she was designed and built. We explain her building with the aid of a Belfast docks map, showing the key sites associated with the White Star Liner. One of the interesting stories we were able to uncover was the involvement a number of Irish businesses had with the Titanic’s fit-out, such as William Liddell & Company from Co. Down who produced the linen for the vessel, and the Kildare Carpet Company in Co. Laois which made the state-room carpets.

A key part of the Titanic story is that of her last port of call, Queenstown (now Cobh). A total of 123 passengers embarked from here on the doomed ship, and we look at their journey from ‘Titanic Pier’ behind the James Scott and Company offices aboard the tenders that took them to the liner anchored off Roche’s Point. As with Belfast, a map of Cobh highlights a number of the key areas in the town associated with the Titanic’s brief visit.

The Know Thy Place Titanic Chart (Copyright Know Thy Place Ltd. 2012)

The Know Thy Place Titanic Chart- Click to enlarge (Copyright Know Thy Place Ltd. 2012)

The central part of the chart’s story looks at the Irish passengers and crew who were aboard the Titanic, telling some of their stories. We spent a long time trying to generate a comprehensive list of people from Ireland who were lost when the Titanic went down, as we discovered that many publications cite wildly different numbers in this regard. There are many reasons for this- some exclude Irish crew members from their totals, while others fail to include Northern Ireland in their calculations. We found the only solution was to create our own list of individuals specifically for the chart.

We eventually generated a list of 129 passengers and crew from the island who were lost, a number that was almost certainly higher as only scant details survive for many of the crew. For the first time, the cities, towns and townlands where these people were from were used to create an at a glance image of the human cost to Ireland of the ship’s sinking. This unique map allows you to see which parts of the island were most affected, and brings home the scale and range of the impact that the loss of the Titanic must have had. For anyone interested in the Titanic Chart you can find order it direct from our website by clicking here.

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Croagh Patrick, County Mayo: St Patrick’s Place

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches once more, Know Thy Place take a look at one of the sites that is most associated with the Irish patron saint- Croagh Patrick, in Co. Mayo.

Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo (Wikimedia Commons)

Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo (Wikimedia Commons)

Croagh Patrick or ‘The Reek’ is one of the most famous places in Ireland. Rising to 2507 feet, it is an imposing feature on the landscape and visible for miles in all directions. It is reputedly the location of Saint Patrick’s 40 day fast, and it remains a major centre of pilgrimage to this day. On the last Sunday of July every year,thousands of pilgrims climb the mountain- many in bare feet- in commemoration and adoration of Ireland’s most famous saint. Archaeological excavations on the summit in 1994 and 1995 identified the buried foundations of a dry stone oratory which was radiocarbon dated to AD 430-890- a time not too distant from St. Patrick’s life.

The Pilgrim's Path on Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo

The Pilgrim's Path on Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo (Wikimedia Commons)

There is also some archaeological evidence indicating that the mountain was an important site prior to Patrick’s arrival, and was possibly a Celtic Hillfort, although further research is needed to confirm this. Tradition has it that the mountain was sacred to a Celtic deity Crom Dubh and was the location of a festival related to the harvest festival of Lugnasa. This pre-Christian Croagh Patrick was known as Cruchan Aigli. Certainly it was common for early Christian missionaries to Ireland to make good use of pre-existing traditions and beliefs to sell their own brand of religion! Indeed it has been claimed that until relatively recently some Irish-speaking locals murmured ‘In ainm Crom’ (in the name of Crom) instead of the normal Christian ‘In ainm De’ (In the name of God).

The Summit of Croagh Patrick (Wikimedia Commons)

The Summit of Croagh Patrick (Wikimedia Commons)

Undoubtedly the impressive profile of Croagh Patrick overlooking Clew Bay was always an imposing sight and legends and rituals grew around it for as long as people lived in the surrounding area. As for its association with Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick is reputed to have climbed Croagh Patrick and fasted there for 40 days and 40 nights during Lent, following the example of Christ. It is during this time that he is supposed to have banished the snakes from Ireland after they attacked him during his fast. This is a story told in every class room in Ireland. The reference to snakes is highly symbolic and one wonders if they in fact refer to the Pagan Gods. The location of Patrick’s fast, in the lair of the Pagan deities, may have been designed to indicate his imperviousness to fear of the old Gods and his victory over their powers. Whatever the truth, the story stuck and the result is now one of the most iconic images in Irish culture: pilgrims climbing the Reek holding rosary beads while deep in prayer, many in bare feet and some on their knees. One would wonder what rituals took place there before the advent of Christianity….

St. Patrick Showing the Snakes Who's Boss...

St. Patrick Showing the Snakes Who's Boss...

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Know Thy Place team up with the National Museum of Ireland

We are delighted to announce that the National Museum of Ireland have decided to stock our Know Thy Place charts in their Museum Shop from this month. Now you will be able to buy County and Ireland charts while visiting some of the archaeological objects that inspired them! As professional archaeologists ourselves, it is great for the Know Thy Place team to have the quality of our work acknowledged, and we hope to continue to work with the Museum in the future! All our charts our still available from our website as well, which you can check out here.

Our Know Thy Place Chart for Co. Cork, now available in the National Museum of Ireland

Our Know Thy Place Chart for Co. Cork, now available in the National Museum of Ireland

We have issued a press release to mark the occasion:

Begin a Voyage of Discovery:

Uncover the story of Ireland and your ancestral home

with Know Thy Place at the National Museum of Ireland

 Ireland has a long and glorious history. People first settled this wonderful land 9,000 years ago and have left their mark everywhere. If you’ve ever wondered what part your home place played in this wonderful story there’s good news, as visitors to the National Museum of Ireland can now explore their chosen county thanks to a unique heritage service called Know Thy Place.

The National Museum is delighted to introduce Know Thy Place’s ‘Ireland’ and ‘County’ charts, which will be available to purchase in the Museum shop from the end of March. Know Thy Place uses high quality archaeological research to provide an overview of the history and archaeology of Irish towns and regions from the earliest human settlers right up to modern times. The company’s archaeologists trawl through archives to track down every known monument in ‘thy place’ and the information is compiled into the story of your place from the earliest times, producing an end product of a beautifully illustrated wall chart which provides maps and information about the archaeology and history of the place.

Our Know Thy Place Ireland Chart, now available at the National Museum of Ireland

Our Know Thy Place Ireland Chart, now available at the National Museum of Ireland

Studying our past has come a long way in recent years, particularly with regard to Ireland and Irish heritage, and Know Thy Place is perfect for anyone who really wants to explore the archaeology of Ireland. Speaking about the charts now available at the National Museum, Colm Moloney, Director of Know Thy Place said “If you want a general overview of the archaeology of Ireland, our ‘Ireland’ chart explains the development of settlement on the island from earliest times through to the present day, featuring some of the most famous archaeological sites in Ireland as examples; while our ‘County’ charts are ideal if you have not yet identified your ancestor’s exact town land, as they look at each of the 32 counties in more detail.”

Commenting on their introduction to the National Museum, Colm said This new partnership is a real coup our team at Know Thy Place, as one of Ireland’s major archaeological institutions has recognised the great appeal and accuracy of our charts, each of which is prepared for the general reader by a professional archaeologist. We are also currently exploring the potential for the production of a range of exclusive charts for the Museum, focusing on some of the major objects and exhibitions on display, and this could prove a very exciting project for all involved.”

Know Thy Place’s ‘Ireland’ and ‘County’ charts are available, and retail for €19.99 and €39.99 respectively, pre-rolled and packaged for ease of transport from the Kildare Street shop. If you want to find out more about these and other charts available visit www.knowthyplace.com.

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Know Thy Place on Television Tonight!

For anyone who wants to find out more about Know Thy Place and see how we produce the charts (and what the archaeological sites they are based on look like!)- Colm Moloney, Louise Baker and Damian Shiels from the team will be appearing on Country Focus tonight. Fifteen minutes of the show will be dedicated to Know Thy Place; the Country Focus team met up with us in our offices to learn about our charts, before we took them out in the field to see some of the typical archaeological sites we come across when conducting our research.

Karina Charles of Country Focus and Damian Shiels of Know Thy Place discuss Garryvoe Tower House (background)

Karina Charles of Country Focus and Damian Shiels of Know Thy Place discuss Garryvoe Tower House (background)

The show airs on Sky Channel 201 in Ireland at 20.30 GMT tonight, and will be shown on PBS in the U.S. at a later date. For anyone who wants to see a promo for the programme you can check it out on the Country Focus Facebook page here. We hope you can tune in- please let us know what you think!

Country Focus on location for Know Thy Place at Garryvoe Lower Church

Country Focus on location with Know Thy Place at Garryvoe Lower Church

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Know Thy Place at Showcase Ireland 2012

As part of the launch of our County and Irelandcharts we decided to exhibit this year at Showcase Ireland, Ireland’s largest expo for creative products and ideas. Our attendance was designed to make contacts with potential retailers who would be interested in selling our products both in Ireland and the United States. As a result of our attendance we have concluded deals with a number of outlets and are in negotiations with several more. We thought we would share some of our experience at the expo with you through the medium of photography- captions provided by Know Thy Place Director Colm Moloney!

Our stand had to be erected on a Saturday so it was an early start from Cork to get to the RDS and have everything installed before 6pm. This is me setting off early from Midleton, County Cork (my place!). Many thanks to Rubicon for the loan of the van.

Our stand had to be erected on a Saturday so it was an early start from Cork to get to the RDS and have everything installed before 6pm. This is me setting off early from Midleton, County Cork (my place!). Many thanks to Rubicon for the loan of the van.

Leinster Rugby Club were playing a match across the road from the RDS exhibition centre, I decided to wear my Munster Rugby Club jersey as Munster are the prime rivals of Leinster in Ireland. This is me having just arrived at the stall, upsetting the locals in my jersey! The officials at the gate asked me to change!

Leinster Rugby Club were playing a match across the road from the RDS exhibition centre, I decided to wear my Munster Rugby Club jersey as Munster are the prime rivals of Leinster in Ireland. This is me having just arrived at the stall, upsetting the locals in my jersey! The officials at the gate asked me to change!

Louise designed the layout of the stall and I provided labour to get everything in place. We tried to provide examples of how our products could be displayed in a shop environment. We exhibitioned framed examples, examples in a cradle and we also designed a rotating display cabinet. The majority of smaller outlets preferred the framed example while larger shops were interested in our custom built cabinet. Here is me putting the display together under the direction of the lovely Louise!

Louise designed the layout of the stall and I provided labour to get everything in place. We tried to provide examples of how our products could be displayed in a shop environment. We exhibited framed examples, examples in a cradle and we also designed a rotating display cabinet. The majority of smaller outlets preferred the framed example while larger shops were interested in our custom-built cabinet. Here is me putting the display together under the direction of the lovely Louise!

The end result of all our efforts!

The end result of all our efforts!

Our proposed unit for retail outlets

Our proposed unit for retail outlets

The Expo is massive with 350 exhibitors with a bewildering variety of products. It is a great opportunity to meet both domestic and international buyers and see if your products would suit their shop. This was particularly important in the case of Know Thy Place as we produce a unique product. We spoke to people who have Irish shops in the US and needed products to cover all of the counties of Ireland. our county charts seem to be the perfect fit for this market! Here is a photo of me checking out the opposition!

The Expo is massive with 350 exhibitors with a bewildering variety of products. It is a great opportunity to meet both domestic and international buyers and see if your products would suit their shop. This was particularly important in the case of Know Thy Place as we produce a unique product. We spoke to people who have Irish shops in the US and needed products to cover all of the counties of Ireland. our county charts seem to be the perfect fit for this market! Here is a photo of me checking out the opposition!

The exhibition was officially opened on the Sunday by our new President, Michael D. Higgins. President Higgins gave an excellent speech on the importance of fostering our craft industry and promoting Irish products abroad

The exhibition was officially opened on the Sunday by our new President, Michael D. Higgins. President Higgins gave an excellent speech on the importance of fostering our craft industry and promoting Irish products abroad

I think the lovely Louise has a soft spot for Michael D! The Expo was a great success. We raised our profile and had lots of interest in our products, a lot of which has been converted into orders since the event. We also made lots of friends amongst the other exhibitors- people we hope to meet at further similar events in the future.

I think the lovely Louise has a soft spot for Michael D! The Expo was a great success. We raised our profile and had lots of interest in our products, a lot of which has been converted into orders since the event. We also made lots of friends amongst the other exhibitors- people we hope to meet at further similar events in the future.

Louise Kicking off Showcase Ireland in style!

Louise kicking off Showcase Ireland in style!

Exhausted but happy after three long days exhibition the Know Thy Place charts

Exhausted but happy after three long days exhibiting the Know Thy Place charts

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How St. Valentine became an Irishman

St. Valentine's Day image c.1910- where did it all come from?

St. Valentine's Day image c.1910- where did it all come from?

Valentine’s Day is once again on the horizon. This event sees worldwide chocolate supplies decimated, red-roses massacred by the million, and restaurant reservations become more valuable than the combined GDP of several small European countries. But who was St. Valentine? And what connection does he have with Ireland?

There are a number of different St. Valentines, and it remains unclear which of them the 14th February date refers to. At least two lived in Italy; one was a Priest in Rome, the second a Bishop in Interamna. They were both martyred sometime in the 3rd Century AD. A third St. Valentine was from Africa and also became a martyr, but little is known of his life. It is thought that the tradition originates with one of the Italian Valentines, and various legends have sprung up around him to explain his romantic associations. These include one tale which relates that the future saint fell in love with his gaoler’s daughter, and sent her the first Valentine card to express his feelings.

Charles of Orleans, one of the original Valentine love poem set

Charles of Orleans, a love-sick French Knight

It seems likely that the day has some connection with Lupercalia, a pagan health and fertility festival that was celebrated around the same time as Valentine’s Day; February was also an important month in the worship of Juno, the Roman Goddess of Marriage. However it was in medieval France and England that the days connection with lovers really took off, and began to take on associations that we would recognise today. During this period February 14th was seen as the beginning of the birds’ mating season, and it was a natural jump to connect this with love-ties in human romance. The earliest known Valentine’s poem also appears at this time. It dates to 1415 and was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans in the Tower of London, where he was being held following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. Entitled ‘A Farewell to Love’ it was for his wife, and begins with the lines:

Je suis desja d’amour tanné,
[I am already sick of love]
Ma tres doulce Valentinée,
[My very gentle Valentine]

Pope Gregory XVI who sent St. Valentine to Ireland in the 19th Century

Pope Gregory XVI who sent St. Valentine to Ireland in the 19th Century

But what of the Saint’s connection to Ireland, and Dublin in particular? This dates back to 1835, when an Irish Carmelite, Father John Spratt, visited Rome. He was a renowned preacher and was invited to speak at the famous Church of the Gesu in the city, which was thronged for the occasion. Pope Gregory XVI wished to give the Carmelite a token of his esteem, and so Father Spratt was presented with some of the supposed remains of St. Valentine and a vessel containing the martyr’s blood. He had them taken back to Ireland, where he was overseeing the construction of Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin. St. Valentine (or at least a part of him) arrived at his new home on 10th November, 1836, where he is to be found to this day in a specially constructed shrine within the church.

The reliquary of St. Valentine has now been in Ireland for some 177 years, and can be visited by the public. Given his long-time residence in the country, a period which has seen a scientifically documented increase in the romantic tendencies of the Irish (based on sales analysis of ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ t-shirts across the same time-span), it goes without saying that at this point he is considered a true blue ‘Dub’, and is firmly regarded as one of our own!

The Shrine of St. Valentine, Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin

The Shrine of St. Valentine, Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin

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Yola: Ireland’s Forgotten Language

If your ancestors hail from Ireland then you most likely think that they spoke Irish or a form of modern English. However, this is not automatically the case. Until well into the 19th century the island retained vestiges of its medieval past; for instance a visitor to Fingal in north Dublin may have heard a local speaking Fingalian, while a traveler in the baronies of Forth & Bargy in Co. Wexford was more likely to hear people speaking ‘Yola’.

Evidence for the longevity of the language can be seen in a report of 1836, when Earl Mulgrave, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, visited Wexford. Among the addresses he heard was one which began as follows:

To’s Excellencie Constantine Harrie Phipps, y’ Earle Mulgrave, 

Lord-Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland. 

Ye soumissive Spakeen o’ouz Dwelleres o’ Baronie Forthe, Weisforthe

Clearly very different to modern English, this greeting was in Yola. Translated, it reads:

To his Excellency, Constantine Henry Phipps, Earl Mulgrave,

Lord-Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland.

The humble Address of the Inhabitants of the Barony of Forth, Wexford. 

What were the origins of this seemingly alien language? The answer lies with the original Norman invasion of the country in the 12th century. As the newcomers established a foothold in the south-east of the island, many Saxon and Welsh-Flemish settlers accompanied them, speaking a form of Old English. As the centuries passed the dialect subsumed some Irish words but retained its distinctive character, and remained markedly different from the more modern English that developed.

Baginbun, Co. Wexford. The Normans defeated and Irish force here in 1170, opening the way for the settlement that would lead to the development of Yola.

Baginbun, Co. Wexford. The Normans defeated and Irish force here in 1170, opening the way for the settlement that would lead to the development of Yola.

Fortunately for us, this unique and compelling vocabulary survived long enough to have a glossary of some  words recorded in the 18th and 19th centuries, by individuals such as Vallancey and Jacob Poole. In addition we have been left with some fascinating poems and songs, such as the ‘Song of Two Market Women’, or more properly the ‘Zong of Twi Maarkeet Moans’:

ZONG OF TWI MAARKEET MOANS

[SONG OF TWO MARKET WOMEN]

A moan vrim a Bearlough an anoor vrim a Baak,

[A woman from the Bearlough and another from the Beak,]

Thaye zhoult upan oother at high Thurns o Cullpaak,

[They met one another at the high towers of Colepeak,]

Themost wi egges an heimost wi thick,

[One had eggs and another had a kid,]

Fan a truckle ee zhoulthered too nigh upa ditch.

[When the car it moved too near to the ditch.]

Thick besom fighed a spagh wi kick an a blaake,

[The kid angry gave a struggle, with a kick and a bleat,]

An awi gome her egges wi a wheel an car taape,

[And away went her eggs, with the car overset,]

Shu ztaared an shu ztudied hi near parsagh moan,

[She stared and she studied by the other passive woman,]

Shu ztaared, clappu her baashes an up wi punaan,

[She stared, clapped her palms, and up with lament,]

Zien, “a blaak vall, a blaak vall, Ich meigh vella knew,

[Saying “a black fall, a black fall- I might well have known,]

Van a vierd durst a bargher an a haar galshied too,

[When a weasel crossed the road, and a hare gazed at me too,]

In durk Ich red virst mee left-vooted shoe.”

[In the dark I happened first on my left-footed shoe.”]

“Swingale,” co the utmost, “thou liest well a rent,

[“Swindle”, said the other, “you know quite well,]

A big daal a masled, slavaal an a kernt.

[A big lot were rotten, dirty and half-hatched.]

Thou liest valse co secun that thou an ye thick

[You lie false, said the second, that you and your kid,]

Maa bee haghed i more caar an angish than Ich.”

[May be upset in more care and hardship than I.”]

Apparently in the baronies of Forth & Bargy it was deemed ill luck to see a weasel crossing the road, a hare looking over a ditch, or to first put on your left shoe instead of your right. The song gives us an idea of the rich tapestry of culture beyond what we commonly see as ‘traditional’ Ireland. Yola gives us a glimpse into this part of medieval Wexford, through the extraordinary dialect that the locals spoke. So, if you happen to be a descendant of people from this part of Wexford, it may be that yola is the language of your forefathers, rather than Irish or standard English!

References

Browne, K. A. 1927. ‘The Ancient Dialect of the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County Wexford’ in The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol. 17, No. 2 pp. 127- 137.

Hore E., Dolan W.T.P., & O’Muirithe D., 1979. ‘Congratulatory Address in the Dialect of Forth and Bargy, Presented to Earl Mulgrave, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, on His Visit to Wexford in 1836’ in The Past: The Organ of the Ui Cinsealaigh Historical Society No. 13, pp. 68-71.

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