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Sunday, 14 July 2013
Isle of Irish despair
Not long ago I came across an old article titled “Isle of Irish despair,” by S. Kingsmill, and V. Wilkinson. Canadian Geographic, January/February 1992, 112(1):78-83.
I was surprised to learn that one of the islands we saw from Île d’Orleans last summer, had such a tragic history, for being Canada’s first quarantine station for Irish immigrants. The article recalls the “Summer of Sorrow,” when nearly 100,000 Irish immigrants arrived in Grosse Île, situated 50 kilometers downriver from Quebec City. It tells of the Irish immigration to North America in the 19th century, of people fleeing famine in Ireland and bringing sickness with them, those that survived the ocean crossing faced the quarantine on the island. It is estimated that 5,400 people died at Grosse Île during the summer of 1847.
If you are interested in learning more, check Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/qc/grosseile/natcul/natcul1/b.aspx
You can also see Newspapers reports from 1847 where are listed all the ships that docked at Grosse Île: