Irish Canadian Famine Research

Irish Canadian Famine Research

Tag: Irish Famine Orphans

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.

 

Documentary Film about the Famine Irish in Quebec: “Remembering a Memory”

 

1909_cross

Remembering a Memory, produced by Ronald Rudin (Concordia University) and directed by Robert McMahon (Royal Ontario Museum) explores the various stories inspired by the immense Celtic Cross constructed in 1909 on Grosse-Île , a tiny island near Quebec City, which is the site of the largest cemetery outside Ireland connected with the Potato Famine of the 1840s. This film reflects on how and why the memories evoked by Grosse-Île have so dramatically shifted over the past century.

Rudin-Photo

Ronald Rudin, Concordia University.

Rob-McMahon-photo

Robert McMahon, Royal Ontario Museum.

The film “Remembering a Memory” can be viewed at the following link:

 
The film builds on and complements the research of Dr. Colin McMahon, especially his MA thesis entitled “Quarantining the Past: Commemorating the Great Irish Famine on Grosse Ile” (2001):
 
 
mcmahon

Walk to recall Famine victims offered flight or starvation

From Irish Times

Walk from Roscommon to Dublin honours the ‘missing 1,490’ Strokestown tenants

1490 walk

Frank Hanly and Caroilin Callery at Strokestown Park prepare for Walking in the Footsteps of the Missing 1,490 – A Famine Emigrant’s Walk. Photograph: Brian Farr

Marese McDonagh

Sat, Apr 18, 2015

When Caroilin Callery was a teenager, her father Jim bought the 300-acre Strokestown estate in Co Roscommon from Olive Hales Pakenham.

“It was as if the family had just walked out the door. All their belongings were around; even the family portraits were hanging on the walls. I used to love wandering through the house,” Callery says.

The house was full of history: Pakenham’s ancestor Major Denis Mahon was a landlord who was murdered during the Famine in 1847.

But Jim Callery was less interested in Strokestown House or its history than he was in the lands around it. Indeed, he had only been in the drawingroom of the house at the time he did the deal in 1979. But he needed a few acres to expand his business, and the entire estate was what was on offer. So he took it.

He was somewhat taken aback a few years later when he discovered more than 55,000 musty documents, many relating to the Famine, in the house. For better or worse the family had been entrusted with safeguarding part of the legacy of the Famine, and the National Famine Museum is just one manifestation of that responsibility.

On Saturday, when she and a group of neighbours walk 155km from Strokestown to the Dublin docks, Caroilin Callery will be retracing the steps of the “missing 1,490”, the starving tenants who set out on foot from the estate in May 1847. Major Mahon had offered them the choice of emigration through “assisted passage”, starvation on their blighted potato patch farms or a place in the terrifying local workhouse.

Coffin ships

After walking for days along the tow paths of the Royal Canal to Dublin, the weary men, women and children were put on boats to Liverpool, and from there to Quebec aboard four notorious “coffin ships”.

Caroilin Callery says the Royal Canal was “the N4 of that time” and was the most likely route for Mahon’s tenants.

It was one of the largest “assisted emigration” schemes of the Famine era, a mass movement of people with impossible choices.

While initially dubious about the scheme, the landlord notoriously booked passage for his tenants on cargo ships, rather than passenger ones, and according to some estimates, as many as 50 per cent did not survive the journey to Canada.

“Another very sad and ironic fact is that these people initially travelled to Liverpool on boats loaded with grain from Ireland. They were lying under tarpaulin on deck, on top of this wheat,” says Callery.

She is director of the inaugural Irish Famine Summer School which takes place in Strokestown House from June 17th to 21st . It will be launched by Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys when she greets the walkers on the Jeanie Johnston on their arrival in Dublin on Wednesday.

Callery says she will be thinking of the tenants as she follows in their footsteps today.

“I will be thinking of the children walking barefoot, the hungry mothers carrying babies, the corpses they must have seen along the canal.

“ I will be thinking about Mary Tighe who is often in my mind, who left with her brother and her five children after her husband Bernard died.”

Survivors

Mary Tighe and three of her children died before their ship docked at Grosse Île. Her son Daniel (12) and daughter Catherine (9) survived, and two years ago Daniel’s great-grandson Richard Tye visited Strokestown in one of the more moving visits of the Gathering.

Callery and her neighbours will spend five days walking, overnighting in Abbeyshrule, Mullingar, Enfield and Maynooth. They are hoping that hundreds will join them along the route.

The scale of the exodus from Strokestown was discovered by Dr Ciarán Reilly from Maynooth University, author of Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine. He says estate bailiff John Robinson, who was paid two shillings to escort the tenants to Liverpool, was “given strict instructions that none were ever to return to Roscommon”.

In November 1847 Major Mahon became the first landlord to be murdered during the Famine.

“Word got back about the condition of the ships. There was a lot of anger,” says Callery

New exhibition explores aid given to famine-time Irish immigrants in Montreal

New Exhibition on Famine Irish in Montreal

From Irish Central.com

Frances Mulraney

Famine-Exhibition-MI

Letter of June 19, 1847 to Mother McMullen”

A new exhibition at Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University explores famine-time immigrants in Montreal and the selfless acts of those who helped them during the summer of 1847.

Opening on April 1, “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” delves into Montreal records to bring the story of the religious orders who came to the aid of Irish immigrants when they needed it most.

The exhibition is presented by Christine Kinealy, founding director of the Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute and a professor of history at Quinnipiac, in collaboration with Jason King, Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at Moore Institute at Galway University, and the Arnold Bernhard Library.

 The year-long exhibition looks at the thousands of Irish who left Ireland to escape the famine and immigrated to Canada. Upon arrival in Canada, however, the suffering of many famine Irish continued, as they remained among the poorest of the poor and some of them were stricken with typhus fever following the long voyage.
 
Grey Nuns Motherhouse. Photo by: Thomas1313/Wiki Commons

Grey Nuns Motherhouse. Photo by: Thomas1313/Wiki Commons

In acts of extreme kindness, a number of people in the English and French Canadian communities came to their aid and provided shelter and support for those ailing and dying. Leading the charge in helping the Montreal Irish 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,” Kinealy 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.”

Visitors to the exhibition can expect to see an 1848 painting, commissioned by the Bishop of Montreal, depicting the Grey Nuns in action as they tended to the poor, maps outlining the fever sheds where the sick were kept in isolation, records the Order kept on the children they attended when they had lost their families and a Grey Nun habit (a black and brown dress despite their name) among other items collected over the past six months.

A map taken from the exhibition. Title: “’The Terrible Epidemic of 1847” by National Federation Boxer, pub. John Lovell, Montreal

A map taken from the exhibition. Title: “’The Terrible Epidemic of 1847” by National Federation Boxer, pub. John Lovell, Montreal

Another interesting item in the collection is a letter written by one of the sisters, telling a person that they had items of their father’s following his death and were attempting the return the items to his family. Speaking to IrishCentral, Christine Kinealy said that this shows the level of kindness and compassion shown by the nuns during these years. Putting themselves in danger of disease, they tended the sick and looked after newly-orphaned Irish children.

“These children left their homeland, embarked on a long voyage, arrived to Canada and then lost their parents. The Grey Nuns were then so kind to them – what would have happened to these children if it wasn’t for the Grey Nuns?”

“It’s important to remember that the nuns were also French-Canadian, they weren’t Irish. It just shows the general compassion they had to put their own lives in danger for others.”

The Grey Nuns were founded in 1738 by Marguerite d’Youville as a religious association to care for the poor. The congregation became an official religious institution meaning the nuns swear normal three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as well as an extra pledge to devote their lives to the service of suffering humanity. From the 1840s onwards, they expanded enormously to become a major provider of healthcare and other social services throughout Quebec, Western and Northern Canada, and the northern United States.

The Grey Nuns acts of kindness saved many children. Photo by: James Duncin/Wiki Commons

The Grey Nuns acts of kindness saved many children. Photo by: James Duncin/Wiki Commons

The exhibition will be available to the public from April 1, 2015 to March 18, 2016 in the Lender Special Collection Room in the university’s library. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The exhibition will be officially launched at a private event on Tuesday, March 31, by the Canadian Consul General (New York); Quebec Delegate to New England (Boston); and the Irish Consul General (NYC).

 

 

What happened to Thomas Treacy?

Toronto Star.

Remnants of Toronto’s History

Our readers tell us about heirlooms, photos and other mementoes that evoke the city’s past.

By: LESLIE SCRIVENER STAFF REPORTER, Published on Sun Mar 11 2007

In the summer of 1847, a seven-year-old orphan, Brigit Ann Treacy, arrived in Toronto half-starved, but carrying a small treasure – a gold-painted cream jug which was her sole keepsake from her home in Ireland. Passage on the famine ship Jane Black had been perilous; there was little food or water. Brigit Ann had been so hungry she’d chewed on her leather shoelaces.

She was travelling with her aunt, Peggy Ryan Clancy. There was to have been a third passenger, her younger brother, Thomas, but he disappeared in the chaos of boarding ship on the docks at Limerick. It’s not known what became of him.

Aunt and niece settled in Whitby, where Peggy worked as a cook. Brigit Ann grew to be a beautiful young woman who one year was named the “belle of Whitby,” her great-granddaughter Terry Smith recalls. Smith, a former Ontario deputy-minister of culture, has inherited the creamer, which she keeps in her grandmother’s china cabinet. She runs a company, Philanthropic Partnerships Inc., which matches donors with charities, and is the only famine descendent on the board of the Ireland Park Foundation, which is creating a park scheduled to open at Bathurst Quay in June.

Brigit Ann was one of the 38,000 Irish immigrants who landed in Toronto in 1847, having fled the Irish potato famine, which killed one million people over six years. Many arrived at the docks sick with typhus; 1,110 died by the end of 1847.

The story of her great-grandmother’s arrival and survival, told through generations in her family, is also the story of the settlement of Canada, Smith says. Brigit Ann married Michael John McTague, another Irish immigrant, and had four children, including Norah, Smith’s grandmother, who raised nine children. Smith has traced more than 200 of Brigit Ann’s descendants in Canada and the U.S.

“This little jug reminds us all where we came from and the struggle our ancestors took to make a new life here,” she wrote in a note to the Star.

Last fall Smith and her sister Sheila Kirk found Brigit Ann’s tombstone in St. Michael’s cemetery near Yonge St. and St. Clair Ave. She died in 1924, when she was 84. Brigit Ann’s aunt, Peggy, lived to be 103.

Smith’s thoughts went back to the 1847 crossing. “It gave us a sense of peace,” Smith says, “to find the site where this woman was buried, once a frightened little girl arriving in a new land with only a gold creamer jug in her hand.’

But there are still unknown elements in this story. Smith still wants to find out what happened to Brigit Ann’s brother, the little boy who was lost or left behind at the docks.

Toronto Ireland Park

 

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