Titanic stories

Titanic stories

Postcard ‘Tender carrying the American mails’

Carrying the mail across the Atlantic was a prestigious business for shipping lines. Awarded a contract by Royal Mail, they could use the prefix ‘Royal Mail Ship’ or RMS in the name of the ship.

Christmas remittances poster

To protect the status of the shipping lines, no part of the reputation of the emigrant experience was left to chance. Shipping lines even provided a system so that money could safely be sent home to families in Europe.

Certificate of Posting book

This Certificate of Posting book was used at Mountjoy Post Office, originally located in the village of Mountjoy about a mile from here. It was rebuilt at the Ulster American Folk Park and is now fitted out as a post office of the early 1900s.

Prepaid ticket receipt

Many Irish emigrants travelled across the Atlantic on pre-paid tickets, purchased in the United States by family members or friends. It may have taken years to save the money to purchase a steamer ticket.

Religious ‘Sacred Heart’ statue

When Edward Ryan was leaving his home in County Tipperary, his parents lit a lamp beside a statue of Christ, similar to this one. The lamp was kept burning night and day for their son’s safe crossing of the Atlantic. Edward said that, when Titanic was going down, he thought of the statue. He still had it in 1969, in his home in Hull, England.

Booklet listing stations and fares to Liverpool and Queenstown

Mary McGovern from County Cavan had a long journey ahead of her before she got to Titanic. She travelled on the Cavan and Leitrim light railway to Mullingar, then to Queenstown via Dublin.

Passengers could buy a ticket from to bring them from their local railway station right through to the town they were going to in America.

From the early 1900s most steamship companies had made arrangements with railway companies on both sides of the Atlantic for the issuing of combined steamer and railway tickets. In exchange for a guarantee of business the railway companies paid the steamship companies a commission on every ticket.

Queenstown Swimming baths

Emigrants had to be well enough to travel and great care was taken to prevent the spread of contagious diseases on board. Emigrants were subject to a number of health checks before leaving Ireland. Queenstown Swimming baths were used as a delousing station and steam sterilisation plant for emigrants when there were outbreaks of particular conditions.

The message on the reverse of this postcard, posted in 1905, reads, ‘Dear May, Not dead yet, still alive, only hungry. Spot’. It was posted from Queenstown on 1st February 1905 to Miss M. Lower, Newhaven, Sussex, England.

Inspection cards

The most important document for emigrants wishing to land in the United States was the Inspection Card. This simple document had to bear the stamps of the US Consul in Liverpool, Southampton or Queenstown, together with the Medical Inspectors stamp. Without it, an emigrant would be unable to board a steamer or land in the United States. Until an immigrant opted to become a citizen of the United States, this card had to be kept and shown to the authorities when requested; if it was lost an immigrant potentially faced deportation.

Postcard notice to agents

Steerage (Third Class) traffic to the United States stopped in 1892, during a cholera outbreak in Eastern Europe and Russia. The US imposed a quarantine period of 20 days, but none of the steamship companies was prepared to pay the cost of feeding steerage passengers for the required extra days of the passage. The same rule did not apply to First or Second Class passengers.

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Visiting Information

TITANICa The Exhibition is on display the the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Cultra. Click here for opening times, how to get here and admission prices.


Titanic Exhibition

The Titanic exhibition is housed in the Transport galleries at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Cultra. You can also experience "TITANICa The People's Story in the Outdoor Folk Museum.

Click here for more information on the 500 artefacts on display and also the Ultimate Living History experience.