Miss Delia Kilkenny

Delia Kilkenny, 33, was traveling aboard Lusitania with her cousin Hannah Cunniffe. Delia was saved from the Lusitania wreck but Hannah was lost in the disaster. Both women were from Arghamore, Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, Ireland. Delia had been living in Boston, Massachusetts, United States for seven years when her father fell ill (the Cork Free Press reported her mother as the one deathly ill) and she booked passage aboard Lusitania to see him. Her cousin Hannah, who lived in New York City, would accompany her. When the Lusitania was sinking, Delia entered a lifeboat. A man kindly provided a rug for her to wrap herself in. Hannah was about to join her but decided to go back for some personal belongings. Delia never saw Hannah again. Delia’s lifeboat had “turned turtle” throwing out the people inside. She then entered a second lifeboat, which also upset. Sinking in the water, Delia thought that she was going to die. She thought of her mother and began to pray. At some point underwater, she caught onto a woman’s heel, and someone else caught her heel, and the three of them rose to the surface and were taken into some lifeboats. Delia had intended to return to the United States, but due to her traumatic ordeal she decided to stay in Ireland. On Easter Monday 1916, the day the Easter Rising began, Delia married Edward Brennan of Pollagh, Kiltimagh, County Mayo. Delia and Edward had a daughter. The rug Delia was given while entering a lifeboat has been donated by her family to the Kiltimagh Museum. Contributors: Senan Molony References: Cork Free Press, 10 May 1915, pg. 7. Molony, Senan. Lusitania: An Irish Tragedy, pgs. 28-29, 42-43. Mercier Press, 2004.

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