On 17 September 1937 the bodies of ten young men, killed in a fire on a Kirkintilloch farm in Scotland were brought home to Achill Sound in County Mayo.
The men were the victims of what became known as the Kirkintilloch disaster, a tragic fire that engulfed the bothy or shed where they lived while they helped to pick potatoes on a Scottish farm. Like many seasonal Irish emigrants they had been locked into the dwelling that night to prevent so called prowling.
Many people travelled from Achill to Scotland to work as seasonal 'Tattie-Hokers' and Kirkintillock, eight miles outside Glasgow, was a popular destination. Accommodation for the migrant workers was poor, usually a converted stable or barn.
On 16 September 1937, ten men aged between 13 and 23 were burned to death in such a dwelling. The victims included three brothers aged 13, 15 and 17. As they were locked into their dwelling, their only escape was through a window, too high to reach.
The bodies of the ten who perished in the bothy blaze were taken by boat to Ireland for burial in Achill.
There was a few that didn’t get destroyed, so of course they were taken home, whatever was left of them.
At North Wall in Dublin they were met by a special train to bring them to Achill Sound.
In the 17th century, Brian Rua Ó Ceabháin from Erris, County of Mayo foresaw two disasters. He saw the coming of the railway to Achill and prophesied that the first and the last trains to the island would carry home the dead.
This first disaster happened in 1894 when a special train bought home a group of over 30 harvesters from Achill who had drowned in Clew Bay. After the Kirkintilloch disaster, Brian Rua Ó Ceabháin’s macabre prophesy came true as the Achill line permanently closed on 30 September 1937.
A 'Morning Ireland' report broadcast on 17 September 1987. The presenter is Vincent Woods and the reporter is Eamon Keane.