It is April and it is the month Titanic sank. I thought to share some documentaries on the Titanic. In 2021, it will be the 109th Anniversary of the sinking. Waking the Titanic is the story about the Addergoole 14. They wanted to seek their fortunes in America. They were among the poorest to board the Titanic. Fourteen young people went to America onboard the Titanic and only three survived. It was a devastating blow to their community. Addergoole went silent after this tragedy. This docu-drama is narrated by Allan Leech.
The Addergoole passengers were John and Catherine Bourke, Mary Bourke, Mary Canavan, Patrick Canavan, Bridget Donohoe, Honor Fleming, James Flynn, Anne Kelly, Bridget Mahon, Mary Mangan, Delia McDermott, Catherine McGowan, and Anna McGowan. This documentary also reached out to the families of the fourteen to discuss the story of the Addergoole 14. It is the first time in one hundred years that these families and the village are telling this story.
Life in 1912 Ireland was hard. Families and communities banded together to help survive. Half the Irish population immigrated. However, to thrive, many Irish people left Ireland for America. Jobs and land were limited to these poor communities and leaving was the only option. The girls were sent to America and communicated home as often as they could. Families would gather together to read the latest news from America. Families would display the letters and photographs from their loved on. The immigrants also sent money back home to bring other family members over.
The news media pressed people to immigrate. The shipping companies competed with each other to get people on board their ships. The price of a third-class ticket was seven pounds sterling, which today is the equivalent of 700 pounds sterling. Shipping companies made a majority of their profits on steerage or third-class passengers – mainly immigrants. For Titanic, the third class was just as good as a second class on other ships. It would take three years to save for a voyage on the Titanic.
The group was led by Catherine McGowan. She had come back to Ireland to bring her niece back to Chicago. She was the epitome of success to the village. She started recruiting additional people to come with her and Annie. Catherine could set them all up with jobs in Chicago. Several members of the group planned on going to America, however, decided to travel with McGowan because there was safety in numbers.
Before the group went off their families had wakes. Immigrating was like death since the families would never see their family members again. There were fourteen wakes held in Addergole to mourn the leaving of the group. Afterward, the group packed up for their trip and spent time with their families. They then boarded a train for Southhampton and then onto the Titanic. It was a journey of many firsts, the first time they left their homes. It was the first time they had their room, let alone a bed, the first time they used silver cutlery, and the first time they saw electricity.
To learn who survived the Titanic’s sinking, continue to watch the documentary.
This documentary is worth sharing with a class when your students learn about the Titanic. It was in third grade when I first heard about the Titanic. You can show this documentary to a wide variety of age groups. It tells the story of the real people who boarded the Titanic. When April 12 comes around, then you can put this documentary up for your students. If you need a filler for a substitute teacher, then have them show this documentary.
You can access the YouTube video here.
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