Irish Canadian Famine Research

Irish Canadian Famine Research

Tag: Integration

Montreal, refugees, and the Irish Famine of 1847

   Montreal Gazette (August 12, 2017)

http://montrealgazette.com/feature/montreal-refugees-and-the-irish-famine-of-1847

Beyond Black Rock: Plans for a memorial park to honour as many as 6,000 typhus victims from the Summer of Sorrow appear to be in jeopardy.

What if thousands of people lay dying on Montreal’s waterfront?

What if some of the city’s best doctors, nurses, members of the clergy and the mayor were caring for the sick newcomers at the risk of their own lives?

What if the dead were being buried in hastily dug trenches next to the makeshift hospital, piled three coffins deep?

What if the death toll rose to the equivalent of 12 per cent of the city’s population?

You’d think a city couldn’t forget a thing like that.

The events of Black 47 are very real to Montreal-born, Dublin-based historian Jason King. On visits to his hometown, King, academic coordinator for the Irish Heritage Trust, which operates the Irish National Famine Museum, always makes a point of visiting the site in Pointe-St-Charles where as many as 6,000 people died of typhus in 1847.

Historian Jason King stands under Le Typhus by Theophile Hamel on the ceiling of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel in Old Montreal. The painting depicts the typhus epidemic of 1847 in which Montreal nuns cared for the sick in fever sheds in Pointe-St-Charles. Credit: Peter McCabe / Montreal Gazette

You pass under a railway bridge, past a Costco store, derelict warehouses and empty parking lots bordered by concrete blocks. It’s easy to miss the monument to the typhus victims — a rough boulder in the median between traffic lanes on Bridge St., near the Victoria Bridge. On it are inscribed the words:

“To Preserve from Desecration the Remains of 6000 Immigrants Who died of Ship Fever A.D. 1847-48

This Stone is erected by the Workmen of Messrs. Peto, Brassey and Betts Employed in the Construction of the Victoria Bridge A.D. 1859.”

King contemplates the stone in silence, broken only by passing vehicles, the sighing wind and screeching of seagulls.

“You do feel a real sense of connectedness when you come to the actual place,” he says.

“Usually, when I come I’m by myself. There’s really nobody here. There’s passing traffic, but that kind of becomes white noise after a minute or two. The rock and the strange, empty parking lot. It’s a very moving site, a very strange site,” King says.

Dozens of cities, including Toronto, New York, Boston and Philadelphia, have sites commemorating the one million Irish who fled their homeland during the Great Famine of 1846-51 — of whom an estimated one in five died en route of disease and starvation.

Each year, some 20,000 tourists journey to Grosse-Île, the former quarantine station near Quebec City where more than 5,000 famine migrants died in 1847.

But Montreal, whose Black Rock is the world’s oldest famine memorial, has no appropriate place of remembrance — just this dangerous spot in the middle of a busy commuter route.

Google Earth image shows location of the Black Rock. The proposed memorial park would be built on land now occupied by the parking lot above it, and cement site to the left.

Yet it was in Montreal that the tragedy struck hardest, and that the community most heroically rose to the challenge of helping the sick and dying, King says.

“Montreal was in a sense the epicentre of the 1847 famine migration,” he says.

“It was the largest city in British North America. It was the only major city to have famine refugees in massive numbers come into the city itself.”

For the past five years, members of the local Irish community have been working to create a memorial park honouring those who fled the famine, only to die on Montreal’s waterfront.

Their plan calls for moving the Black Rock to the future park on the east side of Bridge St. at rue des Irlandais, an area now occupied by a parking lot and Lafarge cement site.

But in May, organizers of the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation learned the land earmarked for the park had been sold to Hydro-Québec, to build an electrical substation to supply the future Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) train. Mayor Denis Coderre, who had initially pledged support for the park, now insists the substation must go ahead but has promised to find a compromise.

Coderre and other city officials refused to be interviewed for this article.

The Black Rock memorial marking the graves of typhus victims is lowered into place in 1859. Credit: William Notman / McCord Museum

The city is also keeping mum on its plans for the rest of the area between Bridge St., the Bonaventure Expressway and Mill St. — formerly the working-class neighbourhood of Goose Village, which the city demolished in 1964. The Coderre administration is reportedly eyeing the site for a future baseball stadium, to bring back Major League Baseball to Montreal.

“The Goose Village sector is targeted in the Stratégie Centre-Ville (a downtown development plan) which will be unveiled in the near future,” is all city spokesperson Jules Chamberland would say in an email exchange.

The REM project calls for a light-rail station underneath the Lachine Canal’s Peel Basin, with a north entrance in Griffintown and a south entrance about a 10-minute walk from the Goose Village site.

But to King, any project that brushes aside the site’s tragic history would be a violation of the last resting place of the thousands who died.

“You can’t imagine this happening anywhere else, that you’d have a mass grave in complete abandonment,” he says.

Sylvain Gaudet, a researcher with the Société d’histoire de Pointe-Saint-Charles, has pored over newspapers, maps and property records to document the burial grounds where the typhus victims were laid to rest. Initially, the sick were housed in sheds near the Peel Basin; later, sheds were built for them on the Goose Village site. Archaeological research is needed to determine what traces remain of the thousands buried at the two sites, Gaudet said.

Historian Jason King at the Irish Commemorative Stone, the Black Rock, situated in the median between traffic lanes on Bridge St. Proponents want a memorial park to be built on an adjacent site, and the rock moved there. Credit: Peter McCabe / Montreal Gazette

Anne-Marie Balac, an archaeologist who worked for Quebec’s Ministry of Culture for 27 years and is now a consultant, said “it’s unthinkable” to allow any project to be built without a thorough investigation of what lies under the ground.

“We know it has a very high archaeological potential because it’s a cemetery,” she said.

Several bodies have been unearthed over the years, including during roadwork and building of the Costco, leaving no doubt that the site is a former cemetery, Balac said.

In 1942, excavations near the entrance to the Victoria Bridge turned up the coffins of 12 typhus victims in a trench-like grave. They were reinterred near the Black Rock.

“It’s urgent to act before going too far,” Balac said.

* * *

In the spring of 1847, Montrealers braced for an influx from famine-stricken Ireland, where the potato crop had failed in both of the previous two years.

“We learn from British papers and private letters published in those of the United States, that the preparations for emigration from Britain, and especially from Ireland, are unprecedentedly great,” the Montreal Witness newspaper reported on March 8.

Fever sheds along the near shore, to the right, are seen from Mount Royal in 1852 in this lithograph by Endicott & Co. Credit: McGill University Rare Books and Special Collections

Fearing a deluge of undesirables, the United States tightened regulations for passenger ships, pushing up travel costs.

This meant the poorest immigrants would be forced to travel via Quebec City and Montreal, the Witness correctly predicted.

Soon “our shores are likely to be thronged with emigrants, chiefly of a class who will have little or nothing left when they arrive,” the paper warned, urging that “no time ought to be lost” in making preparations.

But nothing could have prepared Montrealers for what they saw when sick and starving immigrants began stepping off steamboats from Quebec City.

“Good God! What a spectacle. Hundreds of people, most of them lying naked on planks haphazardly, men, women and children, sick, moribund and cadavers; all of this confusion hit the eyes at once,” the Annals of the Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns) reported on June 7.

The overcrowded “coffin ships” that brought the migrants to the New World — often Canadian timber vessels making the return trip with a human cargo — were the perfect breeding ground for typhus, spread by body lice infected with the Rickettsia prowazekii bacterium. (The cause would not be discovered until 1916.)

Lithograph shows, in the background, fever sheds for the typhus victims of 1847 during the 1850s, when they were used to house the workers who built the Victoria Bridge from 1854-1859. Credit: McCord Museum

Voices from Montreal’s Summer of Sorrow

Numerous sources, including records kept by religious communities and newspaper reports, paint a vivid account of the famine migration to Montreal.

Immigrants who arrived in the city were required to report to the immigration office, which looked like this one from Illustrated London News in 1850. Credit: McCord Museum

After going out to investigate, she returned to the Mother House to describe the horrific condition of the immigrants and ask for volunteers.

She did not need to do so more than once, since our dear Sisters came in large numbers.

(Annals of the Grey Nuns)

June 13: As thousands pour into the city, the typhus sheds near the Lachine Canal are quickly overwhelmed. Patients are crowded three to a bed, with corpses lying alongside the living. Bodies pile up outside, awaiting burial.

The Grey Nuns record heartrending scenes, like a man who arrives from Grosse-Île searching for his wife, who had been sent on to Montreal before him. He finally spots her corpse on a pile of bodies and takes it in his arms, calling her name and kissing her, unable to believe that she is really dead.

Once he is convinced that she no longer exists, he abandons himself to his pain; the air is filled with his cries and sobs. … Scenes of this nature occur several times a day.

(Annals of the Grey Nuns)

“Saving the Famine Irish” Grey Nuns Exhibit Opens at EPIC Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin

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Dr Jason King (Irish Heritage Trust) and Professor Christine Kinealy (Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University), curators of the “Saving the Famine Irish” exhibition at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum.

EPIC will be hosting a temporary exhibition charting the experiences Irish Famine refugees in Canada. “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” 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. The exhibition runs in Unit 5-6 of CHQ from 30/03/2017 until 22/04/2017.

Epic Grey Nuns launch 1.jpg

From left: Caroilin Callery (Irish National Famine Museum), Christine Kinealy (Quinnipiac University), Jason King (Irish Heritage Trust), Fiona Ross (Epic), Robert Kearns (Ireland Park Foundation).

Many thousands of people fled from Ireland during the Great Hunger and immigrated to Canada. 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. In the forefront of this compassionate movement were the Sisters of Charity, also known as the Grey Nuns. The exhibition is co-presented by EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum and Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University. It is currently on display to mark the 170th anniversary of ‘Black 47’, the high point of the Great Irish Famine.

Epic Grey Nuns launch 3.jpg

Jason King, Christine Kinealy, Michael Blanch, Fiona Ross.

http://epicchq.com/event/saving-famine-irish-grey-nuns-great-hunger/

 

 

 

 

 

New Publication: Women and the Great Hunger (Christine Kinealy, Jason King, Ciaran Reilly)

 

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http://www.corkuniversitypress.com/Women-and-the-Great-Hunger-p/9780990945420.htm

Even considering recent advances in the development of women’s studies as a discipline, women remain underrepresented in the history and historiography of the Great Hunger. The various roles played by women, including as landowners, relief-givers, philanthropists, proselytizers and providers for the family, have received little attention.

This publication examines the diverse and still largely unexplored role of women during the Great Hunger, shedding light on how women experienced and shaped the tragedy that unfolded in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. In addition to more traditional sources, the contributors also draw on folklore and popular culture.

Women and the Great Hunger brings together the work of some of the leading researchers in Irish studies, with new scholarship, methodologies and perspectives. This book takes a major step toward advancing our understanding of the Great Hunger.

Christine Kinealy is Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University. Jason King is Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National University of Ireland, Galway and Ciarn Reilly is a Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses & Estates, Maynooth University

Contents

Introduction. ‘This expertise is hard won’. Women and the Great Hunger in Ireland

Steadfast Women

‘Never call me a novelist’: Cecil Woodham-Smith and the making of the Great Hunger – Christine Kinealy (Quinnipiac University)

Asenath Nicholson and school children in Ireland – Maureen Murphy (Quinnipiac University)

Agency and Action

‘Nearly starved to death’: The female petition during the Great Hunger – Ciaran Reilly (Maynooth University)

The women of county Leitrim respond to the hunger – Gerard McAtasney (Independent Scholar)

‘Meddlers amongst us: women, priests, and authority in Famine-era Ireland’ – Cara Delay (College of Charleston)

‘Nearly naked’: clothing and the Great Hunger in Ireland – Daphne Wolf (Drew University)

Hidden Histories

The Famine Irish, the Grey Nuns, and the fever sheds of Montreal: prostitution and female religious institution building – Jason King (National University of Ireland, Galway)

‘Permanent deadweight’: female pauper emigration from Mountbellew Workhouse to Canada – Gerard Moran (Maynooth University)

The Lore of women: Irish expressive culture in New England after the Great Hunger – Eileen Moore Quinn (College of Charleston)

Publicizing Pain

Keeping hope alive: Jane Elgee and the Great Famine Matthew Skwiat – (Rochester University)

‘Skeletons at the feast’: Lady Wilde’s poetry and 19th century Irish critiques of famine and empire – Amy Martin (Mount Holyoke College)

‘Revolting scenes of famine’: Frances Power Cobbe and the Great Hunger – Maureen O’Connor (University College Cork)

 

New Directions

Nature and nurture: The Great Famine and epigenetic change in Ireland – Oonagh Walsh (Glasgow Caledonian University)

Amongst strangers: The Sisters of Charity and the New York Famine Irish -Turlough McConnell (Turlough McConnell Communications)

Lady Sligo and her letters: mounting an inaugural exhibition – Sandy Letourneau O’Hare and Robert A. Young, Jr. (Arnold Bernhard Library, Quinnipiac University)

The Earl Grey Irish orphan scheme, 1848 -1850 and the Irish diaspora in Australia – Rebecca Abbott (Quinnipiac University)

Postscript and A woman’s place is on the curriculum – Ruth Riddick (Open Door Counselling)

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).

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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

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

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.

Call for Papers: Famine migration and diaspora (Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, 23-24 April 2015)

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Call for papers Famine migration and diaspora

Call for Papers

Famine migration and diaspora:

inaugural meeting of the

International Network of Irish Famine Studies (INIFS)

Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, 23-24 April 2015

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Piaras MacÉinrí (University College Cork)

Jason King (NUI Galway)

Mark McGowan (University of Toronto)

William Smyth (University College Cork)

Laura Izarra (University of São Paolo)

Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University Nijmegen)

The Great Irish Famine (1845–52) was one of the most influential periods in the history of Ireland and its diaspora. While emigration had already been a common feature in Irish life before the 1840s, the Famine catalysed the process, causing far greater numbers to leave the island and changing the nature of Irish emigration and Irish communities overseas, while also greatly influencing Irish society at home.

On 23–24 April 2015, Radboud University Nijmegen in collaboration with The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) will host the first meeting of the International Network of Irish Famine Studies (INIFS). This network brings together scholars conducting groundbreaking, ongoing research on the Great Irish Famine. As such, it intends to stimulate the development of interdisciplinary dialogues and methodologies necessary to face future challenges of the field of Irish Famine Studies.

Specifically, this inaugural meeting will have Famine migration and diaspora as its theme, focusing on not just the Irish-North-American diaspora, but also Irish migration across the globe, to Latin America and across the Pacific for example. Moreover, it will investigate both the immediate and long-term effects of Famine migration, and will view these processes of migration, settlement and the establishment of transnational overseas communities through an interdisciplinary and comparative lens.

The expert meeting will consist of keynote lectures and presentations by senior scholars from various disciplines. However,  INIFS also attaches great importance to emerging scholarship in the field, and therefore we would like to encourage PhD candidates doing research in the fields of Famine studies and/or Irish migration and diaspora studies to contribute to the meeting, in the form of a paper. Topics may include but are not limited to:

·     The history and historiography of Irish Famine migration;

·     Politics and (trans)nationalism in diaspora;

·     Geographical aspects of Famine migration and diaspora;

·     New methods and methodologies to research Irish migration and diaspora;

·     Cultural memories and identities in diaspora;

·     The process of emigration as seen ‘from back home’;

·     Issues of integration, belonging, exclusion in receiving societies;

·     Literary and artistic representations of the processes of migration and of being in diaspora;

·     The various cultural encounters between the Irish diaspora and other ethnic communities in their new homelands;

·     The Irish diaspora in comparison to other diasporic communities;

·     The immediate and long-term effects of Famine migration for the Irish and the receiving countries.

If you are a PhD candidate and would like to participate in the form of a paper presentation (in English, not exceeding 20 minutes), please send a 250-300 abstract and short bio to l.janssen@let.ru.nl, before 15 February 2015. We will select a maximum of 8 PhD candidates, who will be invited to present their papers and will receive feedback from a senior respondent from the field. Accommodation for 2 nights and conference participation will be arranged and paid for by the INIFS network. We will not cover travel expenses.

For further enquiries, please contact Lindsay Janssen at l.janssen@let.ru.nl. Additional information will be published on the INIFS website: www.ru.nl/irishfaminenetwork.

Best wishes,

The directors of INIFS:

Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Oona Frawley (NUI Maynooth)

Luke Gibbons (NUI Maynooth)

Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast)

Andrew Newby (University of Helsinki)

The management assistants of INIFS:

Christopher Cusack (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Lindsay Janssen (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Irish Famine Summer School 2015 at Strokestown Park House and Irish National Famine Museum (June 17-21)

Irish Famine Summer School at Strokestown Park House

Irish Famine Summer School at Strokestown Park House Programme

PROGRAMME

Wednesday 17th June

9:30am – 1:00pm

The Great Irish Famine: New Perspectives

Prof Christine Kinealy- Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, USA
Dr Ciaran Reilly – Maynooth University, Ireland
Dr Jonny Geber – University College Cork, Ireland

2:30pm

Tour of Cruchain Ai- Royal Celtic Site, Tulsk & the 18th Century Windmill, Elphin.

Bus departs – Event Tent – Bawn Street
Booking and tour fee Required

2:00pm – 3:30pm

Local Craft Display – Percy French Hotel

Free

3:30pm

Blas na Gaelige

learn a few phrases of Irish, Town Libary
Free

4:00pm

Secret Areas of Strokestown Park House Tour

Booking and tour fee Required

FREE EVENING

Thursday 18th June

9:30am – 1:00pm

The Great Irish Famine Abroad

Prof Mark McGowan – University of Toronto, Canada
Dr Patrick Fitzgerald – Mellon Centre for Migration, Omagh NI
Dr Perry McIntyre – Global Irish Studies Centre, University of New South Wales

2:30pm

Tour of Rindoon Deserted Medieval Village

Bus departs – Event Tent – Bawn Street
Booking and tour fee Required

2:30pm

Genealogy Centre Workshop

Free

4:00pm

History Walk of the Town

(Meet at the Event Tent) Free

8:00pm

Drama – The Murder of Major Mahon, 1847

Strokestown Park House, Library
Booking and tour fee Required

Friday 19th June

9:30am – 1:00pm

The Great Irish Famine Remembered

Dr Emily Mark-Fitzgerald – University College Dublin, Ireland
Dr Marguerite Corporaal – Radbound University, Nijmegen, Holland
Dr Jason King – NUI, Galway, Ireland

2:30pm – 5:30pm

Tour of Roscommon Workhouse & Quaker Meeting House

Bus departs – Event Tent – Bawn Street
Booking and tour fee Required

1:00 – 3:00pm

Secret Tour of Strokestown…

ending with “Taste of Famine Times’ Soyer soup and Maize Bread
Woodland Walk Restaurant
Booking and tour fee Required

3:30pm

Sliabh Ban Walk through the Ages

(Meet at the Event Tent)

8:00pm

History Hedge School – The Great Irish Famine: Past, Present and Future

Prof Christine Kinealy- Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, USA
Prof Mark McGowan – University of Toronto, Canada
Dr Ciaran Reilly – Maynooth University, Ireland

Percy French Ballroom – Small Entry Fee €

Saturday 20th June

9:00am – 5:00pm

The Local and Regional Impact of the Great Irish Famine

Keynote Speaker: Prof Peter Gray, Queens University Belfast, NI

8:00pm

Conference & Summer School Dinner

Strokestown Park House
Pre Dinner Drinks in the Library
Booking Required – € 50

Sunday 21st June

9:00am – 12:30pm

The Local and Regional Impact of the Great Irish Famine

Closing remarks and discussion

3:00pm

History Walk of the Town

(Meet at the Event Tent) Free

1:00pm – 5:00pm

Olde World Fayre

Bawn Street

Children’s Events – Workshops on Sat / Sun

Facepainting / Fancy Dress / Ice Cream