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Clutching Cross

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The Titanic and Saint Mogue's Clay

Sunday Press: Titanic Goes Down – But now comes a story within two stories for the local people have the firm belief that a little earth from the grave of Saint Mogue will, if carried with you, protect you from death by drowning, fire, in air or road crash. Not so long ago, back in 1912 a young girl from this area was brought up in this tradition. Her name was Mary McGovern and when came the time when Mary decided to emigrate, her mother gave her a little of Saint Mogue’s earth and said goodbye. Mary went to Cobh and boarded her ship – it was called the “Titanic”. Now listen to her story as she told it to me in her Cavan farmhouse last week.

“We left Cobh on Wednesday for New York and everything was grand. I was fast asleep in my cabin, a three-tiered affair which I shared with two others from Virginia when we were awakened and thrown out of our bunks by the shock of collision. But we were not at all afraid for everything was silent; the lights burned brightly- in fact we felt no cause for alarm. But outside our door we heard a rising clamour and when we went out we found the passages and corridors full of running people. That was about midnight if I remember right and we went up to the boat deck, pushing our way through lines of linked sailors and armed men who were shouting “Women and children first”!

Somebody told us to go back for our lifebelts and with difficulty we went back to our cabin, found them over the door, put them on and fought our way back again. We went from lifeboat to lifeboat which were packed and which one by one were being lowered away down into the water.

I knew how near the water was for I had actually seen it washing down the corridor as we went down for our life belts. We were shoved into the last of the lifeboats to leave, had to watch the drowning men being beaten with oars to prevent them overturning the boat we were in, watched the lights go out one by one in the huge ship which was sliding to her grave on the starlit night. . . . We saw the last long slow death struggle of the Pride of Queen’s Island, the greatest and newest ship in the world. Next day we were picked up by the “Carpathia”. I am one of the 712 people saved out of the total of 2201. Sewn in my clothes, from the time I left my native Corlough here in Cavan I had carried a little of the earth from Saint Mogue’s grave. I have it still hidden in the rafter of my home.

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Clutching Cross

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St. Mogue's Clay

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Clutching Cross

€44

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