“The Titanic (XII) (You Landsmen All, on You I Call) (Titanic #12)”


"The Titanic called at Queenstown ... And eight hundred emigrants From Ireland sailed away." After four days "our ship struck an iceberg." The crew tries to save the women and children. Millionaires died but we mourn for our Irish lads that drowned.


The Irish grief over the passengers on the _Titanic_ is easily understood. As with most liners of the time, the _Titanic_ carried three classes of passengers: First class, second class, and steerage. And steerage was mostly emigrants, and many of the emigrants Irish.

Steerage passengers, of course, were stuck far down in the ship. Dr. Robert D. Ballard's _The Discovery of the Titanic_ has a side view of the ship's plans on page 168, showing that many of the steerage passengers were four floors below the main deck, near the waterline, whereas the first class passengers were mostly above the main deck, with easy access to the lifeboats.

The steerage passengers, by contrast, were actually barricaded into their below-decks area -- a quarantine measure to prevent the spread of disease (see Wyn Craig Wade, _The Titanic: End of a Dream_, p. 22). But it meant that the third class passengers had to break down, or at least have the knowledge and nerve to talk their way past, the barriers to get off the ship!

It showed in the casualties. According to Lincoln P. Paine's _Ships of the World_, 60% of the first class passengers survived (Ballard, p. 149, reports that every child in first class, save one, survived, and she died only because she wouldn't leave her mother, who wouldn't leave her husband). 42% of second class passengers survived, but only 25% of steerage (comparable to the 24% of the crew who survived).

Walter Lord's famous book _A Night to Remember_ (1955) gives a passenger list. Pages 207-209 catalogs the third class passengers who embarked at Queenstown (Cobh). There were 114 of them, mostly with typical Irish names. Only 40 (35%) survived.

Other sources differ slightly, Stephanie Barczewski's _Titanic: A Night Remembered_ (Hambledon Continuum, 2004), p. 9, says that 123 passengers boared at Queenstown, of whom 113 paid the six pound ten shilling third class fare. Obviously the presence or absence of one passenger doesn't change the casualty rate much.

For an extensive history of the _Titanic_, with detailed examination of the truth (or lack thereof) of quotes in the _Titanic_ songs, see the notes to "The Titanic (XV)" ("On the tenth day of April 1912") (Titanic #15) - RBW

Historical references

  • April 14/15, 1912 - Shortly before midnight, ship's time, the Titanic strikes an iceberg and begins to sink. Only 711 survivors are found of 2224 people believed to have been aboard.


  • Jamesie McCarthy, "The Titanic" (on IRClare01)


  1. Roud #18475
  2. BI, RcTita12


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1976 (IRClare01)
Keywords: drowning sea ship wreck
Found in: Ireland