The Argentine Republic Emigration Scheme
Peter Mulvany On Friday 25th January 1889, the SS DRESDEN left the Deepwater Quay, Queenstown / Cobh, bound for Buenos Aires, with 1772 emigrants onboard 1500 of whom were Irish including the McCarthy family from Ballyclough, County Cork. The DRESDEN subsequently arrived in Buenos Aires on the 15th February 1889, and our family entered Argentina through the immigrants’ hotel located in Dársena Norte, Buenos Aires. The papers of the time reported of the appalling conditions that awaited the DRESDEN passengers on their arrival at the quayside of Dársena Norte, and but for the English speaking community of Buenos Aires moving quickly to resolve the problem of overcrowding, many would have died. On the afternoon of Tuesday the 26th February 1889, approximately ten days after their arrival in Argentina, a large number of the DRESDEN families were moved south to the new Irish colony set up by Peter Gartland, at La Vitícola, which was then located within the vicinity of Napostá, about 30km North of Bahia Blanca. Initially living conditions in the settlement were horrendous with little or no housing. Families were accommodated in tents with the majority living in the open and many of the youngest children became seriously ill. A lack of medicines along with their exposure to contaminated water resulted in numerous deaths among the most vulnerable immigrants. By early 1891 the Irish colony experiment at La Vitícola had failed disastrously, forcing our immigrants to abandon the camp en masse, leaving behind more than a hundred dead most of them Irish children buried in unknown graves and who now rest in eternal silence within the soil of Argentina. The McCarthy family survived the rigours of living as gauchos on the pampas and later moved to the town of Balcarce, which is approximately 64 Kilometres west of Mar Del Plata. According to the 1895 Irish-Argentine Census Irlandeses e hiberno-argentinos censados en 1895 en la Provincia de Buenos Aires, TABLA 1V-1, at No 7 – BALCARCE, a) Zona Rural, the McCarthy family head of household is listed as a Tambero [Dairy Farmer]. The McCarthy’s are also listed in Doctor Eduardo Coghlan’s authoritative book on Irish families who had migrated to Argentina. Patricio (Patrick) McCarthy is ones grand-uncle and his brother Timoteo (Timothy) McCarthy is my grand-father. They were both born in Balcarce, Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1897 and 1895 respectively. Both Timoteo and Patricio were brought to Ireland from Argentina by their widowed Father in 1905 and ended up in the Sacred Heart Home Drumcondra run by the Sisters of Charity. In 1906 they were sponsored by the St Vincent de Paul Society and sent on to St Vincent’s Orphanage, Glasnevin in Dublin. Spanish was their spoken language at the time. Later on both went to sea, serving in the catering departments of various national and international shipping lines. Patricio [Patrick] McCarthy had served on the Irish registered fishery protection vessel Fort Rannoch before he lost his life on the Steam Trawler Leukos on the 9th of March of 1940 and is the only Argentine national to have lost his life on an Irish registered vessel during WW2. Timoteo [Timothy] McCarthy served on the Muirchu during 1939 until the handover to the Irish Department of Defence. He also served with distinction on Irish merchant ships throughout world war two and was a great friend of Captain Henrik Kurt Carlsen of the Flying Enterprise. Timoteo [Timothy] McCarthy died at sea in August 1960 and is buried in the Cimitero Latino, Rue De Port Said in Alexandria, Egypt.
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