Letter: Ireland's tribal baggage

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The Independent Online
JAMES DINGLEY says that "The Titanic was built by Ulstermen". That was, of course, in 1912. Ulster had then, and still has now, nine counties of which, ten years later, only six formed the new Northern Ireland.

How many of the Harland and Wolff workers came from the counties of Cavan, Donegal or Monaghan or, for that matter, from Armagh, Fermanagh, Londonderry or Tyrone? In those days, you could not commute to work daily for more than a few miles. The men who built the Titanic were almost all Belfast men, from Antrim or County Down.

They worked for a firm founded in 1859 (not "the 1860s") by a Yorkshireman from Scarborough, my great-uncle, Sir Edward Harland Bt, who later became an MP for Belfast, and its Lord Mayor. My uncle Henry should have sailed on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, but business kept him back. His partner, Tommy Andrews (much in evidence in A Night to Remember), went in his stead. Andrews left a widow and a daughter.


Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk