MONTREAL – Many years ago, thousands of men, women and children left the Emerald Isle to come to Quebec and Canada.
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So, it was a big deal when Concordia announced its Canadian-Irish studies department would receive $1 million to fund student scholarships.
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The money will go to 20 student awards.
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“In Grosse Île in Quebec City in the 19th century, you had famine refugees something like the Syrians today,” said Michael Kenneally, principal of the Canadian-Irish studies.
“Many died on the voyage, but they were embraced by Quebecers and integrated by French-speaking Catholic families.”
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The Irish immigration to Canada is well documented and there is a rich history.
Studying the Canadian Irish experience isn’t limited to the history books, for some it’s also about looking at how the Irish immigration mirrors other world events.
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“You can look at what happened in Northern Ireland during the troubles and how you have different community, cultural and religious groups and how they are trying to live together,” said Kenneally.
The Irish legacy in Quebec lives on, he said, and helps provide insight into their identity.