Quebec Tribute to `Lost' Irish Heritage; French-Speaking Canadians Remembers the `Summer of Sorrows'

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), August 15, 1997 | Go to article overview

Quebec Tribute to `Lost' Irish Heritage; French-Speaking Canadians Remembers the `Summer of Sorrows'


The French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec is celebrating a people who are an integral part of its history - the Irish.

Exactly 150 years after 100,000 Irish immigrants fleeing the Great Famine landed at Quebec City, the ``Summer of Sorrows'' is being remembered with bittersweet commemorations including participants from Canada, the USA and Ireland.

Events centre on Grosse-Ile, an island in the St Lawrence River east of Quebec City where immigrants were quarantined before being granted access to the mainland. Over 5,000 died there from hunger and typhoid in the summer of 1847.

``Irish immigrants had come to Canada before 1847 and Grosse-Ile wasn't the only place where they arrived,'' city historian Mariana O'Gallagher said. ``But this is where the story is most touching. Entire families died there. You can see that in the Anglican register.''

Last year the government certified the island as a memorial to the Irish.

Immigrants' descendants from North America and Ireland will board boats in Quebec City's old port on August 16 and 17 for the last leg of their pilgrimage to Grosse Ile. …

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