A weaver and a talented piper, sailed on Titanic. Luckily he survived the sinking by clinging to an upturned liferaft. He testified at the Titanic hearings in New York. He married in New York and in 1921 returned to Ireland initially to Athlone. Later, he settled in Galway city and after his wife died in 1961, he flew back to America where he lived with his only child, Marion Joyce, in Missouri. He died on 30 October 1965. (see his story, Erin's Lament, below)
The Piper on the Titanic;
It has been confirmed in eye witness accounts of the Titanic’s call to Cobh, that Daly played "Erin's Lament", "A Nation Once Again", "Boolavogue" and other well known nationalist tunes on his uilleann (elbow) pipes (a traditional Irish instrument) for his fellow steerage passengers, as America, one of the two tenders to the Titanic steamed away from Queenstown harbour, bound for the gleaming liner that lay at anchor far out in Cork harbour, near Roches Point. It was both a heartening and a poignant moment listening to those traditional airs as the passengers left Ireland, most of them for the last time. In the Titanic Movie one of the band who played the dance music that Rose and Jack enjoyed below decks was playing an uileann pipes, no doubt a reference to Eugene Daly.
When Titanic sank, Eugene Daly was cast into the waters and no doubt he thaough his hour had come. However, amazingly Daly survived the Titanic’s tragic sinking by clinging to an upturned collapsible lifeboat (Collapsible 2). He credited his survival to his heavy overcoat. It had been his grand-father's coat and his mother had insisted on his wearing it. Though frost-bitten and near death, he was rescued, but he lost his precious pipes. He would later file a claim against the White Star Line’ for $50 for their loss. Similar pipes, possibly Daly's, were recently salvaged from the Titanic wreck and are now in the Titanic Museum collection.
Eugene Daly died on 30 October 1965 aged 82. He is buried in St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx
He lived at 7 Johns Terrace in Galway's 'West' district. He played music in Galway at various halls, but strangely never played the uileann pipes again, preferring to play the concert flute instead. He was invited as a guest of honour to the opening of the film about the Titanic, 'A night to remember' at The Claddagh Palace theatre in Galway and it is said he attended the showing every night of it's run there.
Recently, I heard a story of how local children in the early sixties would chide him as having been a coward and dressing up in womens clothing, confusing him with Bruce Ismay, perhaps and not knowing the full story of his bravery and character. They taunted him with cries of 'Did ya get a white feather for your birthday from the Queen?' and worse I am sure. In Missouri he is remembered as a daily mass-goer and a community volunteer. I am not able to throw any light on why he is buried in the Bronx. His house in John Street is still there today.
I tell this story and many more about Galway and its interesting past on my 'Walking Tours of Galway' and my 'Fireside Tours' at O'Connors Pub in Salthill. For more information see the Galway Walking Tours website www.galwaywalks.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for tour times and booking. Galway Walks - more than just a leisurelay stroll!
The above notes and story were prepared by me for the exibit of the replica Titanic at the Prom opposite the Aquarium.
Here's what was on show then:
From Mayo to Galway - with love, ' The Titanic' on the Prom!
The West of Ireland connection to the ship extends to Connemara where Bruce Ismay, owner of the White Star Line, lived for thirty years. He escaped the stricken ship on the last lifeboat, but his reputation never recovered.
Volunteers who would like to take part in promoting Galway's historic link with the ship, are invited to contact Brian Nolan directly on 086 327 3560.
The replica is now housed in a warehouse in Castlebar, awaiting sailing orders. Who knows where it will go next (after necessary repairs and refurbishment!