Saint John New Brunswick was the first port of call for many of the Irish who emigrated to Canada, and in 1871 the city was recorded as being 54.1% Irish!
Emigration to the area dates back to the early 1800s and was due in part to promotion by the British Press, the Great Hunger, and because of ‘word of mouth’ from Irish emigrants who’d already settled there. Changes to the Passenger Act in 1827 also meant cheaper fares, and Canada’s busy timber trade with Britain provided the transport that stopped in Irish ports on their return journeys across the Atlantic.
Over the years the Irish spread outwards, and these days Irish communities can be found in all parts of the province. In 2001 the Canadian census recorded that those of Irish ancestry made up nearly 19%, or close to 136,000, of New Brunswicks population.
The Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick celebrates the presence of Irish culture and history in the province, and is dedicated to the thousands of Irish emigrants who have made New Brunswick their home. The association provides province-wide coverage of Irish-related topics and issues, and is well organised with seven chapters each having its own Executive Committee and membership.
You can find plenty of interesting information at their website, and their facts and trivia page for example tells the story of how Irish immigration has contributed to the growth and culture of New Brunswick as a whole.
Hats off to the association, and all credit due to the enthusiasm and commitment of the people who have kept their celebration of Irish heritage so intact.
Early emigration to Canada wasn’t easy, and The Irish Story at new-brunswick.net gives you an idea of the difficult times the Irish faced when making the passage to their new home.