Irish Canadian Famine Research

Irish Canadian Famine Research

Category: Irish Famine Drama

Launch of the “Saving the Famine Irish” Exhibit at Montreal’s Centaur Theatre

http://mtltimes.ca/saving-famine-irish-exhibition-comes-montreal-2/Famine-Exhibition-Map-FT5S

The Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation is hosting “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger,” at the Centaur Theatre from April 11th until April 17th. It is arriving from the Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, which hosted the exhibition, curated by Dr. Jason King and Dr. Christine Kinealy, from March 17th, 2015 until March 17th, 2016.

This moving exhibition tells the story of the religious orders in Montreal whose members gave selflessly to Irish immigrants during the summer of 1847 – their time of greatest need.

Many thousands of people fled from Ireland during the Great Hunger and immigrated to Canada, the only doors never closed to the Irish. Famine immigrants to Montreal were not only among the poorest of the poor, but many of them arrived already sick with typhus fever. Despite this, a number of people in the English and French Canadian communities provided the ailing and the dying with shelter and support. At the forefront of this compassionate movement were the Sisters of Charity, also known as the Grey Nuns.

“The story of the Grey Nuns, and of the other religious orders who helped the dying Irish immigrants, is one of kindness, compassion and true charity,” Christine Kinealy, founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac and a professor of history,  said. “Nonetheless, almost 6,000 Irish immigrants perished in the fever sheds of Montreal. They had fled from famine in Ireland only to die of fever in Canada. This is a remarkable story that deserves to be better known.”

This exhibit is being hosted by the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation to help underscore the need to create a suitable memorial at the site of the “Black Rock” , which marks Montreal’s Irish Famine cemetery. This new green space would honour the 6000+ Irish immigrants who died and were buried in the area in 1847; as well as the many Montrealers who went to their aid, including John Easton Mills, the Mayor of Montreal at the time. He personally provided care and comfort to these unfortunate immigrants, caught typhus, and died as a hero. It would also honour the many brave French-speaking Quebec families that adopted more than 1000 Irish orphans, resulting in an estimated 40% of Quebecers having Irish ancestry today.

WWL

 

 

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Grosse-Île: A Choral Story/ Une Histoire Chorale

Grosse-Île: A Choral Story/ Une Histoire Chorale

March 12th and 13th:  50 artists will take the stage at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec City to sing the story of Grosse-Île quarantine station, summer 1847.  Projections depict the island and relics of that summer; lighting and period costumes set the mood; first person narrative brings memory to life.  Supported by a musical trio of piano, guitar and flute, the voice of each singer will echo across the sea of time calling to us in the 21st century. Employing four languages, French, English, Gaelic and Latin, John Halpin’s lyrics capture a complex cultural mosaic.   Crisp vocal rhythms and rich four-part harmonization support lyrical solo performances, speaking of starvation, hope, desperation, sharing, illness, comforting, death, loss, and the will to carry on.

On the island we meet an elderly couple, Sean and Brigid, the story narrators, remembering their childhood experience in the summer of 1847; Eileen, a suffering Irish immigrant; Darah and Donal, a young Irish couple struggling to heal and restore their people; Skews, an English ship mate stricken by typhus; Doctor d’Amour, searching desperately for a ‘cure’; Father Charles, struggling to be the hand of God amidst a sea of pain and misery.  Over 5000 Irish immigrants died and were buried on Grosse-Île that fateful summer.  The authenticity of Sean and Brigid’s first hand experience of the quarantine station is tempered by the filter of time, the joy of the years won with their own survival and the courage and strength they attribute to the remarkable people they encountered on Grosse-Île.  In the end, it is the heart felt appeal of Father Charles to the faithful parishioners of Montmagny that opens the doors of the Québecois to the stranded Irish orphans.  This is the message of hope at the heart of Grosse-Île:  a story as much for our time as any; a story of anguish relieved by welcome… A story that must be told!

Grosse-Île: A Choral Story/ Une Histoire Chorale is a 2 hour narrative musical performance, written by three Quebeckers, Margaret Forrest, John Halpin and Hubert Radoux, and produced by Les Productions Cibles.  The 40 voice choir, Dal Segno, under the direction of Guillaume St. Gelais is joined by 7 soloists.

Grosse Île musical commemorates Quebec’s Irish heritage

Grosse Île musical commemorates Quebec’s Irish heritage

The bilingual production of Grosse Île: Une Histoire Chorale, which was shown last Saturday and Sunday at the Palais Montcalm, pulls at the heart strings.

“I hope that people feel the pain,” said co-author Margaret Forrest.

In 1847, immigrants traveled across the ocean from Ireland to get away from famine.

“They have to hope and come to Quebec, but then the landlords and the people on the boats are not necessarily nice to them and they get sick,” explained Marie-Maude Potvin, a singer and actress in the musical.

Suffering from cholera and typhoid fever, when the Irish finally arrived in Quebec, they were quarantined on Grosse Île.

“I was surprised that I didn’t know about the story,” said Katee Julien, another singer and actress.

“I think it’s important for us people from Quebec City to know about that because it’s about us. You don’t know why some streets have Irish names.”

This original play – and original score – commemorates the over 5,000 Irish immigrants buried on the island.

Greg Halpin plays two characters, both of whom die from disease.

“Throughout the play, there’s just constantly this chorus that keeps echoing back, of hope and how you get through these kinds of tragedies,” said Halpin.

The story takes place almost 170 years ago, but the imagery is all too reminiscent of Syrian refugees who have died in similar journeys by boat.

“People who were actually dying on the shoreline and they had no place for these people. They had no place to bury them,” said Radoux.

“It is so timely,” said Forrest.

“We’re so estranged to this notion of people having a right or a need to change the place they live. We tend to say ‘pull up your boot straps and change your own place’…but this is the time to open our arms.”

Forrest insisted Quebecers should welcome newcomers, who so quickly become part of our heritage.

 

 

2015 Annual Famine Commemoration Newry International Conference, September 23-26, 2015.

Newry FamineComm-page-001

On Saturday 26 September the National Famine Commemoration took place in Newry, County Down.  As part of the Famine Commemoration, an international conference on the the theme of “John Mitchel: The Legacy of the Great Irish Famine” was organized by Anthony Russell, Tommy Fegan, and Paddy Fitzgerald.  This is the first time the event will be held in Northern Ireland and follows on from a successful hosting in Strokestown, county Roscommon in May 2014.

Full details of the conference programme below:

Wednesday 23 Sept 7.00pm Official Opening of the Conference 7.00pm A Hedge School Event Ulster and the Legacy of the Great Famine Chair: Tommy Graham (History Ireland) Panellists: Professor Mary Daly, Professor Christine Kinealy, Professor Peter Gray and Dr Ruan O’Donnell

Newry John Mitchel statue

Thursday 24 Sept

10.00am Anthony Russell, Mitchel’s Town and The Famine in Two Ulsters

10:45am Professor William Smyth – Reflecting on the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine

11:15am Dr James Quinn – John Mitchel, the Irish Peasant and the American Slave

2.00pm Pechakuchas – 7 Presenters, 7 Slides, 7 Topics in 7 Minutes 1. Slavery, A Biblical Perspective – Nigel Agnew 2. Seven Famines – Dr Paddy Fitzgerald 3. Belfast Famine– Eamon Phoenix 4. Newry Workhouse – Hugh McShane 5. Famine Commemoration– Michael Blanch 6. A Famine Family – Lynn McAreavey 7. Strokestown – John O’Driscoll

Lady C

Friday 25 September

Morning Session

10.00am Christine Kinealy, The wee-men of Belfast. Female Philanthropy and the Great Famine

10.45 am Dr Laurence Geary, The Great Famine and Medicine 11:15am

Cathal Porteir, What folklore can tell us about the Great Famine that the documents cannot

11.45 am Dr Jason King, Irish Famine migration to Montreal, Toronto and New Brunswick

Newry faminecommemoration

Afternoon Session

2:00pm Dr Ciarán Reilly – ‘Famine has made sad savages among its poor’: the world of the Ulster cottier in the 1840s.

2.30pm Dr John Nelson – Like Father, Unlike Son: The Rev. John Mitchel

3.00pm Cormac O’Grada – Eating People is wrong:Thoughts on Famine

3:30pm Reflections on the Conference – Professor Christine Kinealy

Famine Programme Newry

Saturday 26 September

10am ‘The Famine Plot – A discussion on the Great Famine and Culpability’ Chair: Robert Kearns – Ireland Park Toronto; Panellists: Tim Pat Coogan, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Professor Liam Kennedy, Brian Patterson.

Newry Famine Graveyard

Annual Famine Commemoration: Newry, September 26th, 2015.

Commemoration hears of famine’s heavy toll on Ulster

Cavan lost 43% of its population through death or emigration between 1845 and 1851

Irish Times, Saturday, September 26, 2015.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/commemoration-hears-of-famine-s-heavy-toll-on-ulster-1.2368184

Newry Famine Commemoration 1

Stormont culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys in Newry, Co Down at the National Famine Commemoration ceremony. Photograph: Paul Faith.

Ronan McGreevy

The tragedy of a coffin ship which hit an iceberg and sank was recalled at the first National Famine Commemoration event to be held in Northern Ireland.

Hannah left Warrenpoint in April 1849 with approximately 170 passengers and crew on board.

She sank in the Gulf of St Lawrence on April 29th, 1849 with at least 49 deaths though the ship’s list was lost and nobody knows exactly how many people were on board.

The annual commemoration was held at Albert Basin, Newry. Nearby Warrenpoint was a major port of emigration during the famine years. Hannah sailed from there on April 4th.

Most of those on board Hannah were from south Armagh. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys referenced the Murphy family from Mullaghbane who lost two of their children in the sinking and whose descendants still live in North Crosby, Ontario.

Stormont minister for culture Carál Ní Chuilín gave an account of the sinking of Hannah. One mother lost her six children, she said.

The ship struck an iceberg in the middle of the night and many of the children were trapped below deck. The ship sank in just 40 minutes and survivors clung to ice floes, but many died from exposure.

One eyewitness reported of the survivors: “No pen can describe the pitiful situation of the poor creatures. They were all but naked, cut and bruised and frostbitten. There were children who lost parents and parents who lost children. Many, in fact, were perfectly insensible.”

HANNAH_0001-copy_Page_01

Dr Eamon Phoenix, a member of the famine memorial committee, stated the catastrophe directed impacted at least 3.5 million in Ireland. The population of the historic province of Ulster dropped by 16 per cent between 1845 and 1851. The worst affected county was Cavan where 43 per cent of the population was lost through either death or emigration.

Dr Phoenix pointed out that the famine affected both Catholic and Protestant communities in the North.

The famine had a “seering impact on the traditionally prosperous parts of east Ulster,” he said, adding that it was particularly notable around Lurgan and Portadown in Armagh.

In Newtownards the potato crop failure coincided with a downturn in the linen industry which devastated the area leaving “emaciated, half-famished souls”, according to a local newspaper account.

The workhouse in Newry saw a rise in numbers from 465 in 1845 to 1,100 in 1847.

The service was hosted by Newry and Mourne District Council. The National Famine Commemoration was first established in 2008 and is held in a different part of the country every year.

Representatives of the diplomatic corps from more than 30 countries attended the event and laid wreathes.

Mrs Humphreys will also unveil a commemorative plaque in Warrenpoint, Co. Down on Sunday in honour of those who emigrated and all of the people who suffered on the island of Ireland as a result of the famine.

 

Famine walk from Roscommon reaches Dublin

From Irish Times (April 22, 2015)

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/famine-walk-from-roscommon-reaches-dublin-1.2185538

Walk, in period costume, commemorated 1847 walk when 1,490 starving tenants from Strokestown walked to Dublin and boarded a ship for Canada

Famine walkers reach Dublin

Famine walkers on the final few steps of their 155km Famine re-enactment walk from Roscommon to the Jeanie Johnston in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Patsy McGarry

As they began the 155 km Famine commemorative walk from Strokestown, Co Roscommon to Dublin last weekend, participants’ thoughts turned to migrants drowning in the Mediterranean. “While exploring our past we are always conscious that the experience is someone else’s present,” Caroilin Callery, one of the walkers, said when they finished the walk in Dublin.

The walk, in period costume, commemorated one in 1847 when 1,490 starving tenants from the Mahon estate in Strokestown walked to Dublin and boarded the ship Naomi for Canada.

“Seven hundred of them died at sea,” Ms Callery said. On Monday she got a text to say 700 migrants had drowned off the coast of Libya. It was “gut-wrenching”, she said.

Ms Callery, along with Patricia Rogers, Mick Blanch, Gerard Glennon, Bernie Kelly and broadcaster Cathal Póirtéir, finished up at the Jeanie Johnston tall ship on Custom House Quay in Dublin.

Summer school

They were met by Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys, who launched the programme for the inaugural Irish Famine Summer School in Strokestown in June. Described by co-ordinator Dr Ciarán Reilly of NUI Maynooth as “the biggest conference on the Irish Famine ever held to date”, it takes place from June 17th to 21st.

The Minister told the walkers: “You’ve brought life to history and history to life.”

She said the National Famine Commemoration Day on September 26th would be marked in Northern Ireland for the first time at Newry, Co Down.

“The Famine was an event felt by all religions and all cultures on this island. It was one of the most important events in our shared history, a bit like World War one,” she said.

Tim O’Connor, chairman of The Gathering in 2013, described the Irish diaspora as “a great global parish joined by geography and time”, much of it rooted in migration as a result of the Famine.

Schoolgirl Maeve Tighe read her poem The Journey.

Roscommon county council acting chief executive Tommy Ryan described Strokestown House as “a great asset” in an “unknown” county. The house was bought 35 years ago by Jim Callery who has overseen its preservation and the setting up of a Famine Museum there.

He attended the launch of the summer school programme with his wife Adeline. Their daughter Caroilin spoke of his huge personal and financial commitment to Strokestown House. “We’re extremely proud of him.”

After the Famine Walk, Caroilin Callery travelled straight to the inaugural meeting of the International Network of Irish Famine Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands:

Caroilin at IINS o

IINS group photo

INIFS Group Photo

Jason at IINS 2

Programme Expert Meeting International Network of Famine Studies

‘Famine Migration and Diaspora’

Radboud University Nijmegen

23-24 April 2015

23 april

9:30   Opening, Gymnasion (GN) 3

9.45-10:45:   William Smyth (University College Cork), “Famine, emigration and the

transformation of southern Irish society 1845-1916”. GN 3

10.45-11.15:  Coffee/tea

11.15-12:15:   Mark McGowan (University of Toronto), “Finding the People of the

Famine Diaspora: A Preliminary Report on the Strokestown  ‘1490’ in 1847”. GN 3

12.15-13:15:  Lunch, Foyer GN

13.15-14:15:  Jason King (NUI Galway), “Performing Famine Memory: Irish Theatre and

the Great Hunger during the Rise and Fall of the Celtic Tiger”. GN 3.

14.15-15:45:  Panel session 1, GN2.

Aaron Roberts (University of California Riverside), “Fleeing and Starving: Settler Colonial Biopolitics in Ireland and Palestine”;

and response by David Nally (University of Cambridge).

Pawel Hamera (University of Cracow), “ ‘A Good Riddance’: the 1851 Irish

Census, the Mass Emigration and the British Press”.

15.45-16.15:   Tea/coffee

16.15-17.00: Plenary discussion, GN 3. Contributions by Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast) and Emily Mark FitzGerald (University College Dublin).

18:30 – :  Dinner at Vlaams Arsenaal

24 april

9.45-10:45:  Laura Izarra (University of Sao Paolo), “Memories of Leaving and the

Language of Return”. GN3.

10.45-11.15:   Coffee/tea

11.15-12:15:    Piaras MacÉinri (University College Cork), GN 3

12.15-13:15:  Lunch, Foyer GN

13.15-14:15: Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University Nijmegen), “From Restoration to Reinscription: Remembering the Famine in Irish North-American Fiction”. GN3.

14.15-15:45:   Panel session 2: GN2.

Frank Rynne (Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas), “The Returned American: Irish Americans, the American Diaspora and The Land War 1879-82”.

Caroilin Callery (Strokestown Park), “Memories of Leaving and the Language of Return”.

15.45-16.15:   Tea/coffee

16:15-17:00: Plenary discussion, GN 3. Contributions by Jason King (NUI Galway) and Andrew Newby (University of Helsinki).

17.00-18:00:  Goodbye and drinks, Foyer GN

New York Times on Famine Irish in Montreal

Christine Kinealy

 “Saving the Famine Irish: the Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger.” April 1 2015 through March 18 2016. Mondays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Arnold Bernhard Library, 275 Mount Carmel Avenue; quinnipiac.edu.

Performing Famine Memory: Irish Theatre and the Great Hunger Symposium (NUI Galway Feb 12-13)

Druid Program 2

Performing Famine Memory: Irish Theatre and the Great Hunger

Performing Famine Memory:
Irish Theatre and the Great Hunger Symposium
National University of Ireland, Galway, February 12-13, 2015.

Date: Thursday February 12, 1-7pm. Friday February 13, 10am -12pm.

Venue: Hardiman Research Building, G010.

Conference Convener and Contact: Dr. Jason King (Jason.king@nuigalway.ie)

This symposium examines Irish Theatre and Famine Memory between the periods of the Irish Revival and the rise and fall of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger.  It places special emphasis on the performance of Famine remembrance to register moments of national crisis and forced migration in Ireland, both past and present.  The symposium brings together leading Irish theatre and famine scholars and theatre practitioners to explore recent productions about the Great Hunger in the era of the Celtic Tiger, such as DruidMurphy’s revival (2012) of Tom Murphy’s Famine (1968), Sonya Kelly’s How to Keep An Alien (2014), Moonfish Theatre’s bilingual English and Irish language adaptation of Joseph O’Connor’s novel Star of the Sea (2014), Jaki McCarrick’s Belfast Girls (2012), Fiona Quinn’s The Voyage of the Orphans (2012), Caroilin Callery and Maggie Gallagher’s “Strokestown – Quebec Connection Youth Arts Project – ‘The Language of Memory and Return’” (2011-2014), Donal O’Kelly’s The Cambria (2005), and Elizabeth Kuti’s The Sugar Wife (2005).  Representations of the Great Famine during the Revival in Maud Gonne’s Dawn and early plays staged at the Gate Theatre will also be discussed. The performance of traumatic remembrance of the Famine and pivotal historical events in W.B. Yeats’s The Dreaming of the Bones (1916) will be explored in a keynote address by Professor Chris Morash.  Dr. Marguérite Corporaal will also deliver a keynote address on the development of international Famine studies and research networks and opportunities for collaboration.
Food Demonstration in Dungarvan
Symposium Schedule Thursday Februrary 12:

1-2pm. Irish Famine Memory and Migration in Contemporary Theatre Productions:

Barry Houlihan (NUIG), Overview of Irish Theatre Archival Resources at NUI Galway.

Dr. Jason King (NUIG): “Performing the Green Pacific: Staging Female Youth Migration in  Jaki
McCarrick’s Belfast Girls (2012) and Fiona Quinn’s The Voyage of the Orphans (2012)”.

Dr. Charlotte McIvor (NUIG): ‘The Cambria (2005) and How To Keep An Alien (2014): Famine Traces and the Palimpsestic Time of Irish Migration’

 2-3pm. Staging Famine Memory: Theatre Practitioner Perspectives  

Máiréad Ni Chroinin (NUIG and Moonfish Theatre): “Moonfish Theatre’s production of Star of the Sea, based on the novel by Joseph O’Connor” (2014).

Caroilin Callery (Cultural Connections Theatre Group): Strokestown – Quebec Connection Youth Arts Project – ‘The Language of Memory and Return’.

3-3:30pm coffee break
Druid Archive 1

3:30-5pm. DruidMurphy and Early Twentieth-Century Representations of the Great Famine on Stage:

Professor Patrick Lonergan (NUIG): DruidMurphy (2012) and Abbey Productions of Tom Murphy’s Famine.

Dr. Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University Nijmegen): “Starvation in the Shadows: (Un)staging the Famine in Maud Gonne’s Dawn (1904)”.

Ruud Van Den Beuken (Radboud University Nijmegen): “’My blessing on the pistol and the powder and the ball!’: Prospective Memories of Landlord Murders in the Earl of Longford’s Ascendancy (1935)”.

6pm. Keynote address: Professor Chris Morash (MRIA, Trinity College, Dublin):

“Re-placing Trauma: Yeats’s The Dreaming of the Bones”.

Druid Archive 2
Symposium Schedule Friday February 13 (10am-12pm)
Venue: Hardiman Research Building, G010.

Plenary Workshop: Dr. Marguérite Corporaal, “Building Irish Famine Research Networks”.

Deputy Thom Kluk from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will introduce keynote speaker Dr. Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University Nijmegen). Dr. Corporaal will discuss her European Research Council funded project Relocated Remembrance: The Great Famine in Irish (Diaspora) Fiction, 1847-1921 (http://www.ru.nl/relocatedremembrance/) and her Dutch Research Council funded International Network of Irish Famine Studies (INIFS) (http://www.ru.nl/irishfaminenetwork/). She will consider the challenges of building international research networks and explore the opportunities and themes for research collaboration.  

Claddagh

Irish Famine Summer School in Strokestown officially launched

Strokestown-House-300x200

http://www.shannonside.ie/news/irish-famine-summer-school-in-strokestown-officially-launched/

The Irish Famine Summer School in Strokestown has been officially launched during the recent Roses of Tralee visit to the town.

The summer school to be held in June 2015 follows the success of the International Famine Conference and the National Famine Commemoration held in May.

The summer school is a joint initiative between the Irish Famine Museum, Strokestown Community Development Association, Roscommon County Council and the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates at NUI Maynooth.

It will also be supported by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University and St Michael’s College, University of Toronto.

A former student of the University, the Toronto Rose Katie Blundell officially launched the school this week with Roscommon Cathaoirleach John Cummins.

The school will run next year from June 17th to June 21st and will include lectures, workshops, drama, music and excursions of the historic sites in Roscommon.