Search is on for Galway’s ‘Ultimate Titanorak’

Pictured at the Titanic model this week were Tom Keane (whose uncle perished on the Titanic) and hurling greats Jimmy and Sean Duggan. In the background are models and volunteers dressed in the costume of the period. Pic: Darius Ivan

Pictured at the Titanic model this week were Tom Keane (whose uncle perished on the Titanic) and hurling greats Jimmy and Sean Duggan. In the background are models and volunteers dressed in the costume of the period. Pic: Darius Ivan

A ‘Titanorak’ is a person obsessed with the RMS Titanic, who knows all there is to know about the ship, but is still determined to find out more. Now the search is on for Galway’s most passionate Titanic enthusiast.

This year is the centenary of both the ship’s maiden voyage and its tragic sinking. Nine Galwegians boarded the ship in 1912, six of whom were lost after the Titanic struck an iceberg.

To mark these events a 1:10 scale ratio replica of the Titanic is currently ‘moored’ on Salthill’s promenade, opposite the Atlantaquarium. The 88 feet long model recreates the ship designed by County Down man Thomas Andrews jr, and is accurate in every detail, down to the portholes, smokestacks, and anchors.

The replica - made by a group of men from Addergoole in Mayo, which lost 11 of its inhabitants when the ship sank in April 1912 - loaned by Addergoole community to Galway, has become a popular attraction with the Galway public.

There has also been interest in the stories of Galwegians with connections to the liner. Athenry man Tom Keane is a nephew of Andy Keane, a young hurler who boarded the ship, taking his cumán and hurling medals with him. Tragically Andy was among those who perished in the disaster. Tom is a regular visitor to the ship on the bay in the evenings, and is happy to chat to visitors about Andy and the Titanic.

Galway Advertiser arts editor and political correspondent Kernan Andrews is a cousin of the designer of the Titanic, Thomas Andrews jr, and was on Galway Bay FM this week to talk about Andrews and his role in assisting people to safety when the Titanic was being evacuated. A telegraph sent to Andrews’ parents in Comber, County Down, after the tragedy read: “Interview Titanic’s officers. All unanimous that Andrews heroic unto death, thinking only safety others.”

The ‘Ultimate Titanorak’?

Roger O’Sullivan of the Salthill Tourism Development Association, who brought the ship to Galway, has decided to run a quiz to find out exactly who is Galway’s ‘Ultimate Titanorak’.

The prize will be in excess of €500 worth of vouchers for activities in Salthill, including a €100 voucher for The Galleon Restaurant; a meal voucher for The Lobster Pot restaurant in the Galway Bay Hotel; an €80 voucher for Pureskill Indoor Sports & Games Centre; family passes to the Salthill Aquarium and Perks Fun Fair; and a €150 voucher for the Educogym personal training studio. There is also the possibility of a weekend away for one couple in one of the west of Ireland’s leading hotels.

Quiz sheet entry forms are available at the Titanic Tent beside the ship on the Salthill Promenade. Entry fees are €5 each, and all completed entries must be returned to the tent by 9pm this Saturday.

The ‘Ultimate Titanorak’ title and winner will be announced after a talk on the Titanic by Rory Golden at the Galway Bay Hotel this Sunday, between 5pm and 7pm.

Mr Golden was the first Irish diver who went down to explore the wreck in 2000 and again in 2005. His two 40 minute slide shows allow the audience to experience what it is like to view the ship only inches away.

A commemorative ceremony will take place at the ship afterwards, with all Galwegians who died on the boat being remembered, and weather permitting, the evening will end with a series of flares from the front of the ship.

Brian Nolan from the Addergoole Titanic society, gives a talk on the Titanic in front of the ship, each evening from 7pm. The replica Titanic will remain in Salthill until Monday.

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