Irish Canadian Famine Research

Irish Canadian Famine Research

Tag: Famine Memory

Great Famine Voices Roadshow coming to the United States and Canada

FIRST GREAT IRISH FAMINE VOICES ROADSHOW TOURING THE USA AND CANADA

Bringing together Irish emigrants and descendants during the Great Famine of Ireland

http://www.strokestownpark.ie/great-famine-voices-roadshow/

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow will be launched in New York on 9th April at the American Irish Historical Society. The Great Famine Voices Roadshow is a series of open house events in the United States and Canada that bring together Irish emigrants, their descendants, and members of their communities to share family memories and stories of coming from Ireland to North America, especially during the period of the Great Hunger and afterwards.

“We are excited about meeting people during the Great Famine Voices Roadshow and hearing their family stories about how their ancestors came from Ireland to start new lives in the United States,” declared Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut. “We hope that people of Irish heritage in Canada will come to the Roadshow to share their family memories,” added Professor Mark McGowan from the University of Toronto.

“This Roadshow will provide a unique opportunity for Irish-Americans and Irish-Canadians to share their stories, strengthen their sense of ancestry, and historical and current Irish connections. All are welcome to these events”, said Caroilin Callery, a Director of the National Famine Museum in Strokestown Park, Ireland. “Over the past few years, we have been in search of stories from ‘the next Parish’ in North America, where so many of those who survived the Great Hunger – the biggest catastrophe of 19th century Europe – made new lives. We need to hear these stories,” she continued.

A selection of these family memories and stories will be made freely available on the Great Famine Voices online archive.  www.greatfaminevoices.ie 

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow in the USA and Canada will be hosted by the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park, Ireland, and the Irish Heritage Trust, an independent charity. The Roadshow will be held in partnership with Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, the American Irish Historical Society, and the University of Toronto. It is funded by the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme.

 

DETAILS OF ROADSHOW VENUES – All Welcome to these Free Open House Events. 

April 9th: American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue, New York (launch)

April 11th 4pm-8.30pm: Burns Library, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill

April 13th, 11am-4pm: Glucksman Ireland House, 1 Washington Mews, New York University

April 15th, 1pm-4:30pm: Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia.

April 17th, 11am-3pm: Knights of Columbus Museum, 1 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut.

May 22nd, 5-9pm:  Madden Hall, St. Michael’s College, 81 St. Mary Street, University of Toronto.

May 27th, 10am-5pm: St. Gabriel’s Church, 2157 Centre Street (and Walk to the Stone), Montreal.

 

 

For media inquiries in the USA, contact: Turlough McConnell at tm@turloughmcconnell.com or Elizabeth Martin (917) 873-6613 ekm@turloughmconnell.com

For queries, or if you would like to contribute a family memory or story online, contact Dr Jason King at the Irish Heritage Trust: faminestudies@irishheritagetrust.ie

http://www.strokestownpark.ie/great-famine-voices-roadshow/

 

Ireland pays tribute to Maritimes’ help during Great Famine

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/nb-famine-commemoration-1.3285452

Ireland’s Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht touring New Brunswick for Famine Commemoration

Ireland’s Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is visiting New Brunswick this week as part of this year’s International Famine Commemoration.

Heather Humphreys is making stops in Saint John, Miramichi and Moncton to pay tribute to the people of Canada who helped Irish immigrants flee the great potato famine of the 1840s.

Approximately one million people died between 1845-1852, and a million more left Ireland forever.

“It’s very important that we remember and look back, because there’s so much famine across the world and I think by having these commemorations, it raises the awareness of famine issues in the modern world,” Humphreys said Friday on Information Morning Saint John.

“One of the legacies left behind by the famine in Ireland is the deep compassion which is felt by Irish people to those who suffer from hunger today.”

Of the more than 100,000 Irish who sailed to Canada in 1847, an estimated one out of five died from disease and malnutrition.

In Saint John, up to 2,500 people were quarantined on Partridge Island with small pox and typhus fever during the peak of the Irish immigration.

The island was an entry point for newcomers to Canada.

nb-partridge-island

Up to 2,500 people were quarantined on Partridge Island with small pox and typhus fever during the peak of the Irish immigration. (CBC)

Approximately 600 of them are buried in a mass grave on the island. Other Irish immigrants eventually settled in New Brunswick, Upper Canada and the United States.

“I’m here to say thank you to the Canadian people for the compassion their predecessors showed … because the devastating legacy of the famine is evident across the eastern region of Canada, where up to 20,000 Irish famine victims lie buried,” Humphreys said.

“But thankfully, many more thousands survived the journey and went on to build lives here … Almost a quarter of the population in this region are of Irish ancestry. So it’s important we link in with the Irish Canadians, and we meet them and those are strong links we want to maintain.”

Humphreys will lay a wreath at noon at St. Patrick’s Square in uptown Saint John on Friday.

She will then travel to Miramichi on Saturday, where she will visit Middle Island at 10 a.m., and meet with Bill Fraser, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture.

Middle Island Historical Park Miramichi

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Middle Island, Miramichi, Famine Memorial

Humphreys will also visit the Irish Families Monument at 2 p.m. in Moncton and then move on to Prince Edward Island on Sunday.

She previously made a stop in Halifax.

“It’s a solemn occasion to remember, and when you think of the journeys they went on, it’s quite harrowing … it’s important that we remember what they went through,” Humphreys said.

“It’s in remembering these things that it reminds us of the compassion felt by the Irish people, but it also creates an awareness as to the obvious difficulties that result in famine and the terrible things that happen.”

The first National Famine Commemoration Committee was established in July 2008, following a government decision to commemorate the Great Famine with an annual memorial day.

Since 2009, the program included an annual International Famine Commemoration at a location abroad.

Kevin Vickers Miramichi Irishfest

On July 18th, Canada’s Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, also spoke about the Famine Irish in New Brunswick when he opened the 32nd Miramichi Canada’s Irish Festival in his home town.

The full text of Minister Heather Humphey’s address can be found here:

http://www.merrionstreet.ie/en/News-Room/Releases/Minister_Humphreys_attends_International_Famine_Commemoration_in_New_Brunswick_Canada.html

No More Coffin Ships

No more coffin ships

Maryam Filaih from Dublin at a welcome refugee rally on O’Connell Street Credit: David Conachy

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/thousands-turn-out-in-dublin-and-across-europe-for-refugee-support-rally-31522118.html

The escalation of the European migration crisis has led to frequent comparisons in media coverage, political opinion, and public debate between the Irish Famine Migration of 1847 and the perils refugees face today.  The Rowan Gillespie Famine monuments in Dublin and in Ireland Park, Toronto, have become focal points for demonstrations of solidarity with refugees through the prism of Famine Irish memory.

Dublin Famine monument refugees

Image of three asylum seekers imposed on a photograph of the famine memorial on Custom House Quay in Dublin.

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/generation-emigration/comparing-irish-emigration-and-today-s-refugee-crisis-1.2339342

Famine Memorial protest

A section of the crowd gathered at the Famine Memorial on Custom House Quay in solidarity with people seeking refuge in Europe. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/protest-hears-calls-for-government-action-on-refugee-crisis-1.2341712

“Let Then In”, Michael Enright. (CBC The Sunday Edition, September 13, 2015).

ireland-park-toronto-ontario

Ireland Park, Toronto, Ontario (Credit: Kearns Mancini)

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/popup/audio/player.html?autoPlay=true&clipIds=2675304063

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/let-them-in-where-s-the-poetry-in-politics-what-is-the-middle-class-trump-and-the-know-nothings-1.3223214/let-them-in-michael-s-essay-1.3223975

On a sun-blasted morning last week, I biked down to the lake’s edge and sat for a long time in a small, almost hidden parkette called Ireland Park. Out on Lake Ontario, small boats, kayaks, yachts, ferries competed for space on the broad calm waters. No dinghies over-jammed with children and mothers and old men. At the Toronto Island Airport, planes took off and landed, their passengers not stateless, not homeless, no doubt all suitably credentialed.

Five bronze sculptures of figures in rags stand in a corner of the park. Their eyes are raised to the great spires and comforting money towers of the downtown. One of the figures lies dead or dying on the ground. The female figure clutches her pregnant belly. The figures are beyond gaunt; they are skeletal. The park was designed by Toronto Architect Jonathan Kearns, himself an Irish immigrant. It memorializes the coming to Toronto in 1847 of Irish refugees escaping from the horrific devastation caused country-wide by the potato famine.

At the time, Toronto had a population of around 20,000. In one year, some 38,000 Irish refugees landed in the city. Hundreds died of typhus in the so-called coffin sheds not far from this building. And still more came, over the next decades. At the other end of the park are 14 very tall towers made of black Kilkenny limestone. On this morning the limestone was warm to the touch. Carved into the interstices between the towers, are the names of some of those who came: Rose Cassady, Luke McCue, James Murphy, Mary O’Brien, Martin Carlow, Biddy Clary, Mary Ryan.

Canada has a long and storied history of taking in those Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth.” Irish, Vietnamese, Hungarians, Tamils, Bengalis Guatemalans, Turks, even thousands of political refugees from the United States. It’s what we do. It’s not a bad record but not without some failures, some historical blemishes. We failed huge numbers of Jewish refugees in the days prior to World War Two, by shutting our doors to them. Our policy was none is too many. We turned away a boatload of Sikhs in the early 1900s and we excluded Chinese except as stoop labourers. Nevertheless, in number and behaviour, the refugees we have admitted have never been anything other than assets to this country.

The vision of thousands of refugees coming to Canada may upset many people, but that’s all right. Change and the challenge of change take awhile to reach a comfort level. There will be that small minority of xenophobes who can’t abide the notion of strangers in their midst. That’s all right  too. Yes there are haters in this country as there are in any other place, in any other time.  Does it do any good  assigning blame for what we haven’t done? Perhaps. Perhaps the election next month will be a punishment yard.

The important thing is to do something generous and effective, and to do it now. Why not a pledge to bring in 50,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees by Christmas, as retired general Rick Hillier has suggested? And another 50,000 by next Canada Day? Not impossible.

A few hours after I left the park, I watched a family in midtown laughing and shouting and taking pictures of each other. They were Chinese, grandmother, grandfather, young couple, two young children a boy and a girl, maybe the age of Aylan Kurdi. They were chattering away to each other in Chinese, having a grand time. They were probably not refugees, perhaps immigrants. Or maybe they were even born here. It didn’t matter. Written on the left arm of the grandfather’s sweat shirt was one word: “Canada.”

History tells us we could be doing more for refugees: Keenan

(Edward Keenan, Toronto Star, September 3, 2015)

In 1847, during the Great Famine in Ireland, Toronto was a city of 20,000, and in a period of six months, more than 38,000 refugees fleeing the famine arrived and Toronto mobilized to house them and to treat the sick.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/09/03/history-tells-us-we-could-be-doing-more-for-refugees-keenan.html

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BERNARD WEIL / TORONTO STAR

Woman On Ground, one of several sculptures at Ireland Park in Toronto, is dedicated to remind people of the devastation of hunger. In 1847, more than 38,000 Irish Famine refugees landed on the shores of Toronto, causing a major strain of resources.

Pilgrimage to Grosse Ile with the Ancient Order of Hibernians August 2015.

From Donovan King:

A visit to Grosse-Ile, a quarantine station in the Saint Lawrence River that witnessed tragedy in 1847 when thousands of Irish fleeing the Famine perished on its shores. According to the guides fireflies are often spotted above the Famine Cemetery, but never the other two burial grounds on the island.

AOH Grosse Ile 18

AOH Grosse Ile 2

AOH Grosse Ile 1

Montreal AOH President Victor Boyle and Donovan King

AOH Grosse Ile 4

AOH Grosse Ile 5

AOH Grosse Ile 7

AOH Grosse Ile 8

AOH Grosse Ile 11

AOH Grosse Ile 10

AOH Grosse Ile 9

AOH Grosse Ile 13 AOH Grosse Ile 17

AOH Grosse Ile 15

AOH Grosse Ile 14

AOH Grosse Ile 16

Donovan King Translation: “Children of the Gael died in the thousands on this island having fled from the laws of the foreign tyrants and an artificial famine in the years 1847-48. God’s loyal blessing upon them. Let this monument be a token to their name and honour from the Gaels of America. God Save Ireland.”

Note that the version in Irish is different; it says: “Children of the Gael died in the thousands on this island having fled from the laws of the foreign tyrants and an artificial famine in the years 1847-48. God’s loyal blessing upon them. Let this monument be a token to their name and honour from the Gaels of America. God Save Ireland.”

D

2015 Newry Famine Commemoration Programme of Event

The Programme of Events for the 2015 National Famine Commemoration in Newry (September) can be found here:

http://www.newry.ie/attachments/article/3513/annual_famine_commemoration_booklet.pdf

Newry Famine Commemoration Programme Booklet cover

Unveiling of Father Patrick Dowd Memorial

Father Patrick Dowd Memorial

Father Patrick Dowd Memorial, Listulk, Dunleer. Unveiled June 21st , 2015.

Father Dowd Memorial story

Also see:

http://faminearchive.nuigalway.ie/eyewitness-accounts/clergy

NUI Galway launches digital Irish famine archive

From UTV Ireland:

NUI Galway launches digital Irish famine archive

http://utv.ie/News/2015/06/22/NUI-Galway-launches-digital-Irish-famine-archive-39570

Eyewitness accounts of the effect of the Irish famine on migration to Canada in 1847-1848 will be available to read online through a curation by NUI Galway.

theophile-hamel-le-typhus 2

Theophile Hamel’s painting Le Typhus (1848) of Irish emigrants in a fever shed, which features prominently in the digital archive.

 Story by Marése O’Sullivan @Marese_UTV, Dublin

The Grey Nuns, who cared for Irish famine emigrants in Montreal’s fever sheds, kept annals and correspondence which have been translated from the original French and digitised.

The Digital Irish Famine Archive, which was launched by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, contains three sets of annals from the Grey Nuns: “Ancien Journal (Old Journal), Volume I” and “Le Typhus d’1847, Ancien Journal (The Typhus of 1847, Old Journal), Volume II”, both translated from French to English, and the nuns’ first-hand experiences of the Irish migration in “Récit de l’épidemie” (Tale of the epidemic), which is transcribed in French from the original.

The archive also reveals testimonies from Irish orphans were adopted by French-Canadian families, such as Daniel and Catherine Tighe from Roscommon, and Robert Walsh from Kilkenny.

In ‘The Irish in America’, quoted in the archive, John Francis Maguire wrote of Robert Walsh: “For two weeks the boy never uttered a word, never smiled, never appeared conscious of the presence of those around him, or of the attention lavished on him by his generous protectors, who had almost come to believe that they had adopted a little mute, or that he had momentarily lost the power of speech through fright or starvation.”

The archive is curated by Dr Jason King, a postdoctoral researcher who specialises in interculturalism and migration, in partnership with NUI Galway’s Moore Institute; the University of Limerick; the Irish National Famine Museum; Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut; the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation; the Ireland Park Foundation; the iNua Partnership; and the Irish Research Council.

Ambassador Kevin Vickers said: “It gives me great pleasure to launch the Digital Irish Famine Archive. The archive commemorates and pays tribute to the Grey Nuns of Montreal and people of French and English Canada, like Bishop Michael Power in Toronto and Dr John Vondy in Chatham, who gave their lives caring for Irish emigrants during the Famine exodus of 1847.

“It is especially fitting that we launch the digital archive after Montreal’s Irish community has just made its annual pilgrimage to the Black Stone monument, which marks the site of the city’s fever sheds and mass graves for 6,000 Irish dead, and before the Irish Famine Summer School begins at the Irish National Famine Museum in Strokestown, County Roscommon.”

“The stories contained within the digital archive attest to the selfless devotion of the Grey Nuns in tending to typhus-stricken emigrants and providing homes for Irish orphans. In an age of increasingly desperate acts of migration, their compassion provides a lesson for us all.”

Kevin Vickers, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland

President Michael D. Higgins, who is patron of the archive, said: “During that bleak and terrible period of our history, an estimated 100,000 Irish people fled to Canada. It is impossible to imagine the pain, fear, despair and suffering of these emigrants, many of whom lost beloved family members on their journey.

“As a country we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Grey Nuns, who cared for so many Irish widows and orphans who were left destitute, impoverished and alone in a strange country.”

“This virtual archive is a very important project, which allows us to finally acknowledge the generosity and enormous humanity of those wonderful sisters whose great kindness and compassion, during one of the worst tragedies in our country’s history, must never be forgotten.”

President Michael D. Higgins

The archive can be seen at http://faminearchive.nuigalway.ie/

Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers pays tribute to Grey Nuns of Montreal and Canadian Famine Irish at launch of Digital Irish Famine Archive

Digital Irish Famine Archive Launch 2

From right to left: Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers; Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Professor Christine Kinealy; Curator of Digital Irish Famine Archive (NUIG), Dr. Jason King.

Statement for launch of Digital Irish Famine Archive from Ambassador Kevin Vickers:

It gives me great pleasure to launch the Digital Irish Famine Archive and “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” exhibit.  Both the digital archive and the exhibit commemorate and pay tribute to the Grey Nuns of Montreal and people of French and English Canada, like Bishop Michael Power in Toronto and Dr. John Vondy in Chatham, now Miramichi, New Brunswick, who gave their lives caring for Irish emigrants during the Famine exodus of 1847.  It is especially fitting that we launch the digital archive on this day, after Montreal’s Irish community has just made its annual pilgrimage to the Black Stone monument, which marks the site of the city’s fever sheds and mass graves for six thousand Irish dead, and before the Irish Famine Summer School begins at the Irish National Famine Museum in Strokestown, County Roscommon.  The stories contained within the digital archive attest to the selfless devotion of the Grey Nuns in tending to typhus-stricken emigrants and providing homes for Irish orphans.  In an age of increasingly desperate acts of migration, their compassion provides a lesson for us all.

The Digital Irish Famine Archive can be found at (http://faminearchive.nuigalway.ie/).

Irish America: The Grey Nuns at Quinnipiac

From Irish America:

The Grey Nuns at Quinnipiac

GreyNunGarb

Sarah Churchill, Assistant to Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute examines a photo of a Grey Nuns. Images by Johnathon Henninger.

By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
June / July 2015

Anew exhibit on the Grey Nuns hosted by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University opened April 1. A private event launching the exhibit took place on March 31 with the Canadian Consul General, Quebec Delegate to New England, and the Irish Consul General of New York all in attendance.

The long overdue exhibit shines a light on the untold number of English and French Canadians who provided charity and support for the thousands of immigrants who fled Ireland during the Famine. Foremost among them were the Sisters of Charity, who were more commonly referred to as the Grey Nuns. Theirs is a story of compassion and resolve during a time of great suffering and one which has been largely overlooked.

Quinnipiac launch 4

Barbara Jones, left, Consul General of Ireland, Marie-Claude Francoeur, Quebec Delegate to New England,Christine Kinealy, John F. Prato, Consul General of Canada, and Jason King toured the exhibit “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” on display at the Arnold Bernhard Library on the Mount Carmel campus of Quinnipiac University. The exhibit opened to the public April 1, 2015. (Photograph by Johnathon Henninger / for Quinnipiac University)

The exhibition, “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger,” was a joint collaboration between Christine Kinealy, founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute and professor of history, and Jason King, Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at Moore Institute at Galway University, and the Arnold Bernhard Library. Kinealy said of the exhibit, “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” adding “this is a remarkable story that deserves to be better known.” ♦

_______________

The exhibition runs through March 18, 2016.

The Famine Irish migration from Newry to Canada in 1849: Documentaries about the Hannah

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There was a substantial famine migration from Newry to British North America in 1849, symbolized by the ill fated voyage of the Hannah which was shipwrecked on an iceberg, though many of its passengers were miraculously rescued.  The voyage of the Hannah has been reconstructed in two closely related Northern Irish and Canadian documentaries: 1) Ice Emigrants, and 2) Famine and Shipwreck: An Irish Odyssey.

1) Title: Ice Emigrants

Independent Production: Hardy Pictures (Northern Ireland)

Narrated by John Lynch, Ice Emigrants is a co-production with Canada’s Galafilms.  Canadian title: Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey.

Time/Date: BBC 1 NI 21st February 2011.

In 1849 a famine-ravaged Armagh community made a choice – to stay and die of starvation – or spend all they had sailing for Canada in search of a better life.

Those who sailed across the Atlantic endured scarcely imaginable hardship – none more terrifying than the iceberg which sank their ship in the Gulf of St Lawrence. A century and a half later, on an extraordinary and emotional journey, a young family from Armagh retrace their ancestors’ steps and piece together a moving and inspiring story of emigration and survival.

Production Company/Key crew:

Director: Andrea McCartney, Brian McKenna

Producer:  Andrea McCartney

The program received accolades on Irish diaspora websites such as irishamerica.com: http://irishamerica.com/2011/04/the-hannah-an-irish-odyssey/.  In fact, the documentary was first inspired by a posting on this website.

This documentary specializes in the genre of family history and is quite absorbing in merging a genealogical storyline of a County Armagh family tracing its routes with a historical reconstruction of the tragic journey of the brig Hannah which broke up on the pack ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1849, from where many were miraculously rescued.

2) Title: Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey.

Independent Production: Galafilm Productions

Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey is a coproduction with Northern Ireland’s Hardy Film’s documentary Ice Emigrants.  It reconstructs the famine voyage of the brig Hannah from the perspective of different descendants of its original passengers than in Ice Emigrants with more emphasis on the Canadian story.  It is an entirely separate production.

Time/Date: Broadcast on CBC March 17 2011.

Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey was shot in Ireland, Quebec, Ontario and off the coast of Prince Edward Island, in 2010.  It never would have been possible without the incredible efforts of Paddy Murphy from Ontario, who traced his genealogy back to his Irish roots in South Armagh, Ireland.

Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey is [an independent company] Galafilm production, produced in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio-Canada, with the financial participation of the Canadian Media Fund, the Quebec tax credit and the Federal tax credit, and developed with the financial participation of the SODEC.

Production Company/Key crew:

Director: Brian McKenna

Producer: Nathalie Dubois

This documentary was critically acclaimed and extensively promoted on a variety of Irish-Canadian academic and cultural listservs and web sites including that of the Ireland Canada University Foundation (www.icuf.ie).  It is a fast paced documentary that makes effective use of CGI an animation for the purposes of historical reconstruction interspersed with on location scenes in rural Ireland and on ice flows in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

It can be viewed (only in Canada) at the following link:

Famine and Shipwreck: An Irish Odyssey