To America, 1948 (Part 1)

In October 1948 my family left Ireland and came to the US on the Cunard liner Mauretania.  Leaving our farm in County Leitrim we hired a car to take us to Dublin.  From there it was the night boat across to Hollyhead, Wales.  I was told it was the “cattle boat” but I don’t remember any cattle; just folks like us, often leaving Ireland for good, as many were doing about that time.

We befriended a young man on the boat; he was also America-bound, and he was quite drunk all the time (“ah, the poor fellow…”).

From Wales we traveled by train to London, still at night.  (I’ll relate my 8-year-old memories of the city in Part 2.)

We sailed from Southampton on the Mauretania.  I happened to see a model of that Cunard liner in the Maritime Museum in Newport News, Va.

Years ago an artist named William Hamilton (I don’t know if he’s still active) specialized in scenes of “bright young people” (I think that was  before the name “yuppies” was coined).  I wish I had saved one Hamilton cartoon, of a dinner party, with the lady of the house telling her guests:  “Oh no, our family didn’t come over on the Mayflower.  We came over on the Mauretania.”

Here is the model of our Mauretania– the one built in 1938 (there was an earlier one):

mauretania

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