I've been interested in the Titanic disaster for nearly 13 years now. I've heard plenty of strange stories in connection with the sinking, but none more stranger than that which I heard the other day. While having lunch with some friends from university we started talking about dreams and nightmares which we've experienced. Before I go on I must tell you that none of those present knew of my interest in Titanic. Anyway, when it came to her turn, one of the girls - Sarah Burns from County Sligo told us about a dream she had a few years back.....
In the dream she and this other girl of about the same age were standing on this long corridor with rows of doors on both side. She described both the walls and doors as being white and the floor being brownish - though not wooden. She could even recall the long row of light-bulbs overhead. She remembered feeling unbelievably frightened and that the other girl was also. The other girl was described as wearing a night-dress under a knee-length brown coat. She also looked very pale. Then before she knew it she felt a wall of water hit her from behind, she fell on her back and she was dragged along the floor. She remembered still being able to see the lights through the water as she struggled for breath. She felt herself spinning about and then swallowing loads of sea-water. Then everything just blacked-out. Next thing she woke up screaming, sitting bolt upright in the bed. Her parents both came rushing in thinking some-one had broke-in. After her parents calmed her down and she told them what she dreamed about they all went to bed. The rest of the night passed peacefully.
Next day while Sarah was at school, her mother brought around shopping to her mother-in-law (Sarah's gran). Over tea she happened to mention Sarah's nightmare and that's when things got interesting.....
According to Sarah's gran, her late husband (Sarah's grand-father) had a sister who drowned on the Titanic. He had never known her as as he died when he was young. Sarah's gran referred to her as Delia. Sarah's parents never knew about this because no-one in the older generation of the family ever spoke about her. Sarah believes that the dream was that of her great-aunt's death. Plus, she later realised that the dream took place on the night of April 14th/15th, 1997 - the 85th anniversary of the sinking!
Now I'm as sceptical as the next person, but firstly Sarah's mother backed-up the claim. Secondly, the dream took place before the film "Titanic" came out, so she could'nt have been inspired by that. In fact, she had never even known much about the disaster and actually confused it with the Lusitania! Thirdly, she lives in the exact same part of Sligo (which is very small) as did Mary Delia Burns. Fourthly, she refered to Mary Delia simply as Delia, which through detailed painstaking research, I found is exactly what her close family called her, even though her first name was Mary (Mary was a common name in Ireland back then). All the same, I still remained very sceptical until I rooted deeper and did more research on Mary Delia Burns. She was 17 when she died - as was Sarah when she had the dream. Also I found that Delia was travelling with 2 others from the area - Margaret Devanney and Kate Hargadon. Having boarded in Queenstown, they were travelling 3rd class and were berthed in a compartment on E-Deck near the stern. Of the 3 women only Miss Devanney survived.
Then I came across some eye-witness accounts which give a clue as to Delia's and Kate Hargadon's fate. Kate was also 17, by the way - which is the approximate age given by Sarah in her dream. While Margaret Devanney climbed a ladder to the lifeboats, Delia stayed behind - thinking the situation was quite safe, to look after Kate who was apparently badly sea-sick since leaving Ireland. One eye-witness saw the pair heading below-decks - Kate supposedly wanted to retrieve her handbag which had her money and valuables in it. The last that was seen of them, Delia had her arm around Kate's shoulders and was guiding her down some stairs - Kate apparently seemed faint. They were'nt seen again. It is believed that they became trapped by the rapidly-rising water and drowned. Perhaps it was on the long corridor as dreamt by Sarah. The eyewitness accounts describe Kate exactly as Sarah did. Both Kate and Delia's bodies were never recovered.
Though Delia was never spoken about, she was never forgotten. I don't think Sarah will ever forget her either! I promise you all, that this is no ghost-story designed to freak you out. Nor is it a loads of lies - believe me, I've gone to the ends of the earth to prove it's a lie, but it all checks out! I just had to share it with you, as I have done with everyone I know! Goodbye all!
Margaret Devaney O'Neill claimed that she left her friends, Kate Hargadon and Delia Burns, on either B or C-deck as the latter was too ill to follow her up to the boat deck. Kate stayed with her while Margaret went on to find the lifeboats. The plan was for Margaret to return once she determined the escape route. Margaret claimed that she never knew what happened to the girls after she left them. After she reached the boat deck, she was quickly ushered into a lifeboat and claimed that she was prevented from returning to them. Margaret Devaney O'Neill, who died in 1974, was always saddened throughout her life that she wasn't able to get back to her friends. She found some comfort in the belief that if she hadn't been forced into the lifeboat (one of the last to leave), she would have also lost her life since there would have been no time for find them and return.
I personally do not believe that Delia and Kate attempted to return below decks given that Delia could barely walk. If she had enough strength to go below, she probably would have followed Margaret up to the boat deck. Margaret always believed that the girls stayed where they were and met their fate together at that spot where she left them.
Incidentally, I believe Margaret was the source for any information in the press about Kate and Delia since she was the only one who knew them that survived. Her recollections were stretched and expanded upon after her arrival in New York so it is impossible to to verify the accuracy of the reports reaching Ireland.
Does anyone have family information on Delia Burns, a third class passenger on the Titanic. It maybe that her mother was a sister of my grandfather, Philip Monaghan of Carrickhenry, Ballysadare, County Sligo, Ireland.
Is there any way to contact two contributors to the reports on Mary Delia Burns, i think we may be related, there names are Joe McDonagh, nephew of Mary and Roberta McGowan, Mary was my mother's aunt.
[Moderator's Note: The messages above this one were originally two separate threads, which have now been merged. This message has been moved from an unrelated thread, to which it was originally posted. MAB]
Hi, I am 23 years old from Sligo, Ireland. I recently found out that Mary (Margaret) Burns was related to my father Eamonn Scanlon.I would like to know more about Mary and maybe find new relatives, I have been fascinated with the story since I was told it, and hope to one day travel and meet all long lost relations.
Mary Delia Burns as I said before is my Great Great Aunt. My Great Grandmother Elizabeth Deery was adopted by Marys sister Nelie Burns who lived in America. They waited for her but soon found out that she died, my Grandmother told me this story of when her mother waited for her. I am part of her family by adoption but she is still family in my eyes. I hope to learn more about her and her family.
Hi I'm Krista and I would also love to learn more about Mary. I am related to her as her Great Great Great Niece. Her sister Nellie adopted my Great Grandmother and I want to learn more about her and her family.
Hi My name is Tracey (maiden name Keaveney) and Mary (or Delia) as the family called her was my grandmothers sister. I don't know much more about her than the site tells us but my father (her nephew) has 4 brothers and sisters still alive who frequently tell the story. They're all in Dublin now. I don't know any of the family that are still in Sligo. It's good to know other people are as fascinated by her story as I am!
Hi Neil My grandmother was Delia's sister! She married a Keaveney and they lived in Sligo but the family are now all in Dublin or London. We're all fascinated by the story and the family still talk about Delia
What is your grandmothers name? My great grandmother was adopted by Nellie Burns ( On of the oldest siblings ) Neil who has also commented on here has helped out a lot with information. There is still some family in Sligo and Niel has told me the names of the siblings he knows about. I really want to know more about Mary and her family.
Hi, I have recently found out that Mary is my Great Great Great Aunt. Her sister Nellie Burns adopted my Great Grandmother. I was told that Nellie was waiting for Mary but soon found out that Mary didn't make it. I have also found someone who was a cousin to Mary. If you need more let me know.
Hi Everyone. I know it is a couple of years since you posted the comments below but I would be very interested in learning more about Mary Delia Burns and her sister Lily Keaveney who was a teacher in Lakeview School. I am currently putting together a book on St John's Parish, Carraroe, Sligo which I am hoping to have published by the end of the year.Tracey, you mentioned your sister was Lily. I am hoping to learn more about her. I have been chatting to past pupils of Lakeview School but would love to hear from you about her. I have some school pictures that she is in if you are interested, one from 1941, please email me at [email protected] hope to include the titanic story but I also have a section on Lakeview school. Any information or old pictures of her that you might have (ie. a portrait) would be much appreciated.Anyways I hope to hear from you.Kind Regards, Olivia Moran