Irish Canadian Famine Research

Irish Canadian Famine Research

Group seeks to create park near Black Rock memorial to Irish

http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/group-seeks-to-create-park-near-black-rock-memorial-to-irish-1.1837535

A local group is pushing for a plan that would reroute Bridge St. south of Wellington in order to create a park on a site where many Irish immigrants died long ago.
The group detailed their plans in an interview with CTV Montreal Sunday at a memorial for the 6,000 Irish immigrants that died in fevers sheds on after coming to the island in 1847.
The Black Rock memorial on Bridge, seen as a sacred site for local Irish, has since seen its surroundings encroached upon by parking lots, a busy street and industrial facilities.

PHOTOS
irish park proposed
The group provided this photo of what they’d like a future park to look like. (Handout)

Group representative Dian English said that reclaiming some of that space would create much-needed green space for the area as well as the fast-growing adjacent Griffintown district.
The park would even attract tourists, she believes.

“We think it’s a major cultural destination which is tourism, a great industry and revitalize the whole sector and keeping the respectful commemorative site that is it,” said English.
The park they propose would require a rerouting of Bridge St. and would contain sporting facilities, a cultural centre and a pond with a sculpture of a coffin ship in the middle to symbolize the tragedy that led the immigrants to contract the fatal illness.

A lively community known as Goose Village sat near the site until its demolition mid-60s but the area is currently inhabited mostly by industry. Bridge is at times heavily travelled by the many cars seeking to access the Victoria Bridge.

It’s not currently known whether municipal authorities are considering the plan.

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Montreal’s Irish community remembers Black ’47

http://globalnews.ca/news/1352882/montreals-irish-community-remembers-black-47/

MONTREAL – Thousands of Irish came to Canada during the potato famine in search of a better life, but many died from disease epidemics that hit Kingston, Toronto and Montreal.

Community members are now trying to raise awareness about it.

On Sunday, Irish-Montrealers marched to a large black rock that sits just to the left of the Victoria Bridge.

“There’s 6,000 people buried here,” said Dian English of the Montreal Irish Monument Foundation.

“They deserve a more fitting end than this.”

The 6000 people are the victims of the Black ’47, a year in the 1800′s during the Irish potato famine where about 100,000 Irish immigrants passed through Montreal.

Suffering from typhus, many came to North America in search of a new home – but ended up finding an early grave instead.
Now, members of Montreal’s community want to make the black stone the centerpiece of a park and a monument.

“We want to see a major park done here that has a cultural centre, that has four season sports, a real Canadian park,” said English.

But, the proposed park would reroute traffic going to the bridge, which could be an issue.

Not only is the stone in the middle of a major roadway, it’s in the midst of an area primed for development.

“To know the history of the space the people who built it, the people who played a role in populating it and make sure that history isn’t forgotten and try to give it back,” said Sterling Downey, a Montreal City Councillor.

“It doesn’t mean that you can’t develop. But there are intelligent ways of developing.”

Every year Montreal’s Irish community gathers at Saint-Gabriel’s Church in Pointe-Saint-Charles to walk to the black stone.

In the future, they hope they can make it more of a destination.

“People would be able to not only dodge traffic to spend time with the stone, but be able to spend time with their families, having picnics,” said Victor Boyle of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Canada.

The thousands of people who died in the so-called coffin ships are believed to be buried under what is now a parking lot.

Incredibly, there’s no known record of who they were.

“The famine for us was like our holocaust,” said Ray Bassett, the Irish Ambassador to Canada.

Bassett admits he couldn’t find the black rock when he first came to Montreal.

“It’s important these people are remembered,” he said.

“They’re human beings, their individuals.”

Turning the median strip into something more substantial is still just an idea on paper, but the people who gathered there don’t want the memory of Black ’47 to sit in the middle of a highway forever.

Video Excerpts from National Famine Commemoration at Strokestown 2014

Video Excerpts from National Famine Commemoration at Strokestown 2014

 

Canada Come Home Re-Enactment of Famine Evictions from Fitzwilliam Wicklow Estate

Canada Come HomeCanada Come Home Re-Enactment of Famine Evictions from Fitzwilliam Wicklow Estate \"Canada

The project Canada Come Home recognized the lives of Irish emigrants who left Wicklow to resettle in Canada during the Great Hunger. The event on Friday, September 13, 2013 included a reenactment of the Fitzwilliam Estate clearances.

Between 1847 and 1856, 6,000 tenants were forced to leave the Fitzwilliam Estate and many families went to Canada. Black ‘47 as it became known, was the worst year of the Great Hunger.

Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Loyola Hearn spoke at the event. The Independent quoted him, “The connections between Canada and Ireland have never been stronger or closer than they are today.” He added, “It is very appropriate in this, the year of the Gathering, that such an event as this is being held in Wicklow.”

A potato blight was carried by ships from the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada to Ireland, where the blight wreaked havoc on the potato crop in 1845. Having only small plots of land, many Irish tenants had become dependent on the very nutritious potato, which gave high yields from a small plot.

The idea that charity was not automatically deserved and stress on self-reliance weakened British motivation to help victims of the Great Hunger. Following laissez faire, the notion that the government should interfere as little as possible with the economy, grain exports remained at pre-famine levels. The British opened soup kitchens in 1847, but closed them after only six months once the death toll started to subside.

Without another crop or the financial resources to buy grain the British were importing, many Irish died from disease or emigrated. The United States and Canada were popular destinations. Ships departing to these locations became known as ‘coffin ships’ as many of their passengers did not survive the journey. About one million died during the Great Hunger and another million emigrated. Today Ireland is a key advocate for finding solutions to world hunger.

CCH Earl welcomes Ambassador

‘The Earl Fitzwilliam’ welcomes Ambassador Hearn and his wife Maureen to Coollattin House

National Famine Commemoration at Strokestown

http://www.rte.ie/news/player/2014/0511/20576539-national-famine-commemoration-held-at-strokestown/

The National Famine Commemoration has taken place in Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

The event, led by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, involved prayers of remembrance, military honours and wreath-laying ceremonies.

Mr Kenny unveiled a memorial wall at Strokestown Park listing the names of 1,490 people who emigrated from the area in 1847.
The Strokestown emigrants were tenants of the Mahon Estate who were given assisted passage by their landlord during the famine.

However, by the time they reached Grosse Isle in Canada almost 700 had died.

Around one million people are estimated to have died during the famine, with around one million more emigrating.

The British government’s response to the failure of the potato crop after it was struck by blight, the exportation of food crops and the subsequent large-scale starvation soured the already strained relations between the Irish people and the British Crown.

Many historians view it as a seminal moment in Irish history, one which heightened republicanism, eventually leading to independence.

Speaking at today’s event, Mr Kenny said: “In remembering our past, we must not lose sight of our present.

“Our history of famine means that Irish people have a particular empathy with those suffering the effects of hunger in the world today.

“As Taoiseach, in honour of our Famine dead, I’m proud to be able to say that combating global hunger and under-nutrition is central both to Ireland’s foreign policy and to our overseas development-assistance programme – Irish Aid.”

RTE Nationwide: Strokestown Quebec Connection Group Gathering 2 (Return of Descendants of Irish Famine Orphan Daniel Tighe to Strokestown from Quebec for the Gathering (2013)
by irishcanadianfamineresearcher

In 2012 RTE, the Irish National Television Station aired a feature on the Tye / Tighe family story including Laval Liberty High students who have been working for the past two years with a group of Students in Strokestown and hope to visit Strokestown for their event. The broadcast can be found at:

In July of 2013, at the opening ceremony for the Strokestown Gathering, Daniel’s great-grandson Richard was the first member of the Tighe family to set foot in his hometown since the Famine separated them from their homeland in 1847. The event was covered once again by RTE Nationwide.

Award winning Docudrama “Death or Canada” to be screened at Thomas D’Arcy McGee Summer School in Carlingford, County Louth on 19 August 2014

“Death or Canada”
A Gemini and IFTA Nominated, two-part Canadian-
Irish docudrama.
Mark G. McGowan, Professor of History,
The University of Toronto

Created by Ballinran Productions / Tile Films
Written by Craig Thompson
Directed by Ruán Magan
Country of origin Canada, Ireland
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 2
Cinematography Colm Whelan

RTE Nationwide: Strokestown Quebec Connection Group Gathering 2 (Return of Descendants of Irish Famine Orphan Daniel Tighe to Strokestown from Quebec for the Gathering (2013)

In 2012 RTE, the Irish National Television Station aired a feature on the Tye / Tighe family story including Laval Liberty High students who have been working for the past two years with a group of Students in Strokestown and hope to visit Strokestown for their event. The broadcast can be found at:

In July of 2013, at the opening ceremony for the Strokestown Gathering, Daniel’s great-grandson Richard was the first member of the Tighe family to set foot in his hometown since the Famine separated them from their homeland in 1847. The event was covered once again by RTE Nationwide.

Television interview about Father Patrick Dowd

http://globalnews.ca/video/982017/father-dowd-bicentennial

Thu, Nov 21: Historian and author Alan Hustak talks about the Father Dowd Bicentennial Mass being held on Sunday at St. Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal and at a church in Ireland. Father Partrick Dowd was an important historical figure in Montreal.

Radio Broadcast about Father Dowd

Dr Jason King from Montreal speaks to us about the heroic Fr Patrick Dowd from Dunleer who saved the lives of thousands of Irish people during the famine times in Montreal.

http://utv.vo.llnwd.net/o16/LMFM/2013/11/22/nov22.mp3