The Sea Cook: M. McCarty
I'm poking at the boundaries of our knowledge about the family history. My great-grandfather Moses Flanagan was born in Limerick in 1865. Nothing is known about his father, but his mother was M. McCarty. According to family lore, M. McCarty Flanagan worked as a cook on a boat in the Irish Sea and Moses liked to refer to himself as a "son of a sea cook."
It got me thinking. What did it mean to be a sea cook on the Irish Sea in the mid-19th century?
While the Irish were pouring out of the country to go to America in the second half of the 19th century, they were also pouring into England.
So I'm thinking it's likely she worked on one of those big steamers.
A site called "Moving Here"  tells about crossing the Irish Sea in those days:
Since it's been passed down that Moses went to school in Dublin, it's safe to assume his mother worked one of the Dublin routes.
She might have worked on the Irish Mail , the paddle steamers connecting with the mail train for a quick route between London and Dublin:
It can't have been an easy life for Moses' mother -- back and forth in notoriously stormy seas. Where was his father? Moses must have spent a lot of time alone. If we have found the correct record of his passage to America, in June of 1882, somewhere between the ages of 16 and 20, he took off to find his fortune. [More about Moses >>> ]
 Moving Here. 200 years of the immigration experience of England. Notes on the journey of the Irish to England in the 19th century.
 The Irish Mail route.