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{{Title|The Irish of Quebec: At the Crossroads of Two Cultures|[[Taïeb Moalla]]|in ''Tolerance.ca'', 2006}}
 
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This is an unofficial translation of the French language article [http://www.tolerance.ca/Article.aspx?ID=222&L=en&sc=1 ''Les Irlandais du Québec : à la croisée de deux cultures''], written by [[Taïeb Moalla]] for [http://www.victorteboul.com/ Victor Teboul]'s online magazine [http://www.tolerance.ca ''Tolerance.ca''].
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[[Image:UISM.jpg|thumb|United Irish Societies of Montréal]]Marking the arrival of the spring, the [[Wikipedia:Saint Patrick's Day|St. Patrick's day]] parade, a colourful event, is a not-to-be-missed rendezvous for tens of thousands of [[Wikipedia:Quebec|Quebecer]]s and federal and provincial political personalities of all parties, in addition to those who are of [[Wikipedia:Irish|Irish]] origin.
The Johnson family influenced the history of contemporary Quebec a lot. Daniel (father) was a leader of the [[Wikipedia:Union Nationale (Quebec)|Union nationale]] and Premier of Quebec from 1966 to 1968. Pierre-Marc was premier at the end of the mandate of the [[Wikipedia:Parti Québécois|Parti Québécois]] government from October 3 to December 12, 1985. He succeeded to no other than [[René Lévesque]]. As for his brother Daniel, he also exercised this function under a liberal government from January 11 to September 26, 1994. He is also known as the official spokesman of the No side during the [[Wikipedia:1995 Quebec referendum|referendum campain of 1995]].
Daniel Johnson explains us that his family has been in Quebec for six generations. "My ancestor George arrived here in 1822 before the waves of immigration caused by the [[Wikipedia:Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849)|Great Famine]]". What Mr. Johnson retains of the history of the Irish in Quebec, it is their "great vitality". "They put forward their identity and showed that they were not assimilable, all the while integrating into their host society. Today, they are present and active in several fields", he underlines. He insists on the excellent reception that the Irish have had when they arrived in [[w:Lower Canada|Lower Canada]]. "The French Canadian families adopted several young orphans whose parents had died during the painful crossing."
When one asked him what there is that is Irish inside of him, Daniel Johnson answered without hesitation: "nationalism". "Even if the political context and history of Ireland and Quebec are different, I find a resonance inside of me in the desire to affirm myself and this feeling of distinct identity".
==The landing at Grosse-Île==
If you seek references on the Irish in Quebec, you are very likely to land on books treating of [[Wikipedia:Grosse Isle, Quebec|Grosse-Île]] (Big Island). It seems the history of the Irish is before-all marked by the painful settlement of their ancestors in Lower Canada, then in [[w:Province of Canada|United Canada]], during the 19th century.
The name of Grosse-Île is on all the lips as soon as one evokes the Irish fact in Quebec. Located about fifty kilometers away from Quebec City, [[Image:Eyewitness-Grosse-Ile.jpg|thumb|left|''Eyewitness. Grosse Isle. 1847'' by Marianna O' Gallagher]]it was used as a place of quarantine for thousands of Irish people who had fled their country following the famine caused by calamitous potato harvests. Several of these newcomers were affected by [[Wikipedia:typhus|typhus]] and [[Wikipedia:cholera|cholera]]. Thus, from 1845 to 1849, some 200 ,000 Irish people landed in Quebec, half of whom during the sole year of 1847.
[[http://www.qahn.org/recipient_detail.aspx?recipientId=4 Marianna O' Gallagher]] is the historian of the Irish of Quebec. Born in 1929, she is titular of a master in history from the [[Wikipedia:University of Ottawa|University of Ottawa]] and for a long time taught history to primary school pupils in Canada and the United States. Between 1961 and 1986 (year of her retirement), she was a teacher at [[Wikipedia:St. Patrick's High School (Quebec)|St. Patrick School]] in Quebec City. In 1981, she founded a publishing house named Carraig Books - whose named she changed to [[Livres Carraig Books]] in 1995 - specializing in the publication of historical works treating in particular of the Irish fact in Quebec.
The memory of 5 ,000 dead whose bodies were thrown over bridge during the crossings and the deaths on the Grosse-Île (at least 5 ,400 victims for the sole year of 1847) still shape the collective conscience of the Irish. "It is a thing which one does not forget. But with time, the memory starts of it begins to soften", recognizes Mrs. O' Gallagher. According to the historian, the Irish settlement is certainly marked by this chaotic installation, but it is not the only element of history. "There was a massive arrival of Irish between 1815 and 1830. The [[Wikipedia:St. Patrick's Church (Quebec City)|St. Patrick Church]] in Quebec City was built on the [[McMahon street]] in 1832, that is to say about fifteen years before the Great Famine. Also, the St. Patrick high school in Quebec City was inaugurated in 1842", she says.
According to the terminology in force at the time, the British Empire regarded its Irish subjects as a "population surplus" and encouraged their departure toward United Canada, this remote English colony.
==The ''Patriotes'' ==
[[Image:OCallaghan.jpg|thumb|Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan, doctor and patriot leader]]Enemies of always of the English, the Irish naturally sided with the [[Wikipedia:Patriote movement|''Patriotes'']] during the 19th century. "The green color on the flag of the ''Patriotes'' was a way of recognizing the massive presence of the Irish in the ranks of the rebellion", indicates Mrs. O' Gallagher.
Doctor [[Wikipedia:Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan|Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan]], an Irishman, is a close friend of [[Wikipedia:Louis-Joseph Papineau|Louis-Joseph Papineau]], the historical leader of the patriotic movement of Lower Canada. "He was the editor of a patriotic newspaper in Montreal. One had to be wary not to say bad things on the account of the ''Patriotes'' in front of him, because that irritated him much", adds the historian.
The proximity between the French-speaking Quebecer and the Irish can go very far. It is admitted today that 40% of Quebecers have Irish blood running in their veins. The journalist and historian [http://www.septentrion.qc.ca/catalogue/auteurs.asp?DevID=133 Louis-Guy Lemieux] does not hesitate to affirm that "we are all Irish. Or almost!" Quoting the work of the United Irish Societies of Montreal, Mr. Lemieux explains that "several of the patronyms of old stock francophone Quebecers hide their Irish origin badly. Thus, the Aubry would owe their surname to the O'Brien, the Barrette to the Barrett, the Bourque to the Burke, the Guérin to the Gearan or Geary, the Mainguy to the McGee, the Morin to the Moran, the Nolin to the Nolan, the Riel to the Reilly or O'Reilly, the Sylvain to the Sullivan or O'Sullivan."
If one takes the example of Quebec City, the historical, architectural and artistic heritage of the Irish is impressive. In the book the ''Le chemin du trèfle, la présence irlandaise à Québec'' (The clover path, the Irish presence in Quebec City), historian Marianna O'Gallagher details this inheritance on 32 pages. One thus learns that the [[Saint-Jean]] and [[Saint-Louis doors]] were designed by architect [[William Lynn]], trained in [[Wikipedia:Belfast|Belfast]] and a protégé of [[Wikipedia:Lord Dufferin|Lord Dufferin]]. "The richly decorated doors, of French medieval style, thus replaced the old doors of British military tradition which allowed the passage of only one car at a time", note the historian.
==La Bolduc, inspired by Irish folklore ==
[[Image:La Bolduc.jpg|thumb|left|La Bolduc]]At the beginning of the 20th century, singer Mary Travers - better known under the name of [[Wikipedia:La Bolduc|La Bolduc]] - was inspired by Irish folklore. "She spontaneously learns to sing, play the accordion, the violin and the harmonica to entertain the nights among neighbours where she interprets Irish reels which she intermingles with ''[[turlutes]]'', syllables and the rhythmic sounds in the manner of the Acadians. Without knowing it, by these musical loans that she adapts adapted with great naturalness, she poses laid down the folk bases basis of the Quebec ''chanson''", claims an Internet site dedicated to the life and work of the first female singer-songwriter of Quebec and French Canada.
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Jim Corcoran, now installed in Montréal, intends to be an hyphen between the French language and English language cultures. "Since 1989, I host a radio show at the [[Wikipedia:Canadian Broadcasting Corporation|CBC]] in which I introduce Quebec francophone ''chanson'' to an anglophone audience. I am happy with my role as a ferryman, especially when I receive several messages of British Columbians, Acadians and even South Africans who tell me their being delighted to discover another culture this way".
== To know learn more ==
Books:
* [http://www.labolduc.qc.ca www.labolduc.qc.ca]
 
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[[Category:Ireland]]
[[Category:Periodical articles]]
[[Category:Translations]]
[[Category:20th century]]
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