Faces of the Titanic: Survivor Eugene Daly - wrote a detailed account having stayed on the ship to the end
29-year-old witnessed brutal shooting and dramatic panic on board before his escape
Finally, the Irish American newspaper of 4 May 1912, reported that the irrepressible Daly was quickly back to his pipes:
"Gaelic Feis in Celtic Park
"Athlone Piper Who Lost His Kilts and Pipes in Titanic Wreck to Play the Old Tunes
"The Gaelic Feis to be held in Celtic Park on May 19 … One of the competitors in the War Pipes is a survivor of the Titanic disaster, and he has recovered sufficiently to be confident of marching off with the prize. His name is Eugene Daly, from Athlone, Ireland. Eugene was coming from Ireland to compete at the New York Feis and sailed on the ill starred liner. He lost his Irish kilts and bag-pipes when the Titanic went down and he himself was floating on a raft for over two hours before he was picked up."
Eugene did not win the competition, but he stayed in New York for much of his life, occasionally returning to Ireland to visit relatives. On at least one occasion when he did so, he related that ‘six or seven’ men had been shot on board the vessel and that there had been pandemonium in the final struggles for survival. It was not at all as noble or as civilised as had been suggested, he said. He told his nephew Paddy Daly that by the time his lifeboat reached the Carpathia there were many already dead, ‘frozen solid’. Many years later, Daly was interviewed in Ireland in connection with script preparation for the 1958 film A Night to Remember.
He returned permanently to the United States in the early 1960s and died on 30 October 1965, at the age of 82, and was buried in St Raymond’s Cemetery, the Bronx. He and wife Lillian had an only daughter, Marian Joyce, later Marian Van Poppe.
Athlone woman Bertha Mulvihill told the Providence Evening Bulletin of 19 April 1912, that a boy named Eugene ‘Ryan’ from her home town had told the group on leaving Queenstown that he had dreamt the Titanic was going to sink:
‘Every night we were at sea he told us he had dreamt that the Titanic was going down before we reached New York. On Sunday night just before we went to bed, he told us the Titanic was going to sink that night. It was uncanny.’
Daly certainly knew Bertha and seems to have been keen on her. On 20 August 1912, he sent a postcard to ‘Miss Mulvihill’ at the City Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. The card was a Titanic memorial card. Daly placed an X on the front illustration to indicate where his sleeping quarters had been and wrote on the reverse that he had ‘got home safe’, apparently after a visit to Bertha. He added: ‘Hope you keep well until we meet again and perm. me to be ever your friend, Eoghan O’Dalaigh, a survivor. xxx"
Profile taken from Senan Molony's book "The Irish Aboard the Titanic"
Source - Mercier Press - Ebooks from Ireland – Irish author on Kindle, iPad, Nook and all ereading devices
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