Miss Margaret Mannion was born in the town-land of Loughaunboy1, Castle Ffrench, Co Galway, Ireland on 6 November 1883.2
She the daughter of Lawrence Mannion (b. circa 1832), a farmer, and Margaret Small (b. circa 1840), Galway natives who had married around 1865.
One of nine children, Margaret's siblings were: John (b. 7 June 1868), Thomas (b. 14 May 1870), Mary (b. 1 February 1872), Patrick (b. 31 December 1873), Ellen (b. 3 October 1876), Bridget (b. 22 February 1879), Lawrence (b. 26 November 1881) and Celia (b. 13 April 1887). The family were Roman Catholic and spoke both Irish and English.
Maggie first appears on the 1901 census living at house 10 in Loughaunboy, Castle Ffrench, Co Galway, described as a farmer's daughter and with no other stated profession. She was still at home in time for the 1911 census when she and her family were living at house 2 in Loughaunboy, again with no stated profession.
With her sister Mary and brother John already living in the USA, Margaret bought her ticket for Titanic at the nearby village of Ballygar and set off for America with a group led by Martin Gallagher of Currafurry. Thomas Kilgannon, Thomas Smyth, Margaret and her friend Ellen Mockler were all from the parish of Caltra and were persuaded to travel to America by Martin Gallagher who was visiting his family in Ireland after living in the United States for several years. Gallagher and Mannion were reportedly sweethearts.
"...We were all so excited about starting a new life in America. I was with the man I hoped to marry. The five of us were all very close and we couldn’t get over the style and luxury of the Titanic..." (Margaret Mannion Hopkins, 1963)
She boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger (ticket number 36866 which cost £7, 14s, 9d).
After the Titanic collided with an iceberg Margaret and Ellen Mockler were assisted to the boat deck by Martin Gallagher and Tom Kilgannon and were placed in lifeboat 16. As the boat was lowered she reported seeing Martin Gallagher praying with his rosary.
Upon arrival in New York City aboard Carpathia Margaret was described as a 24-year-old domestic headed to Mrs McGinnis at 314 West 127th Street, New York. Upon recuperation she became a domestic.
Before the close of 1912 Margaret received news of the passing of her father back in Ireland who died aged 80 on 19 September 1912. Her mother later died on 4 July 1925.
Margaret spent the next seven years in New York before deciding to return home. On 25 May 1919 Margaret, described as a maid, arrived in Liverpool aboard Baltic; in turn she returned to her native Galway and would remain there for the rest of her life.
On 27 October 1919 in Caltra church Margaret married Martin Hopkins (b. 15 November 1884), a farmer also from Castle Ffrench who was the son of Francis Hopkins and the former Julia Crehan.
Margaret and her husband had three children, two sons and a daughter. The family spent the next years living in the village of Lunerton, Ballinamore Bridge in Co Galway; around 1959 they moved to Lismany, Lawrencetown, Co Galway where Margaret spent the rest of her life. She and her husband were well-known and well-liked in their community.
Margaret in her later years
Margaret gave many interviews about her experiences over the years and in 1963 she was interviewed by RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann), the Republic of Ireland's TV and radio broadcaster, in their first ever live broadcast from a hotel in Ballinasloe, Co Galway. She related:
I was just going asleep on the third night when there was a thud and the engines stopped. Panic set in and as we tried to run down the corridors sailors were firing shots in the air. Lifeboats were lowered as the waters rushed in as children and women were helped onto the boats. Some men tried to get on but were stopped by sailors. It was pure mayhem.
Widowed on 18 March 1966, Margaret remained in Lawrencetown where she died on 15 May 1970 aged 86. Following a Requiem Mass at Clontuskert Church, she was buried in Chapelfinnerty Cemetery, Kilglass, Co Galway.