Complex diasporic triggers such as the globalization of cod and the search for New World colonies by Old World powers brought successive waves of immigrants from Ireland to Quebec in the past three centuries. Their journeys are deeply inscribed in the cultural memory of the province, from the Wild Geese Irish who arrived with the French army in the eighteenth century, to the orphans of the Great Famine who found generous homes and warm hearts in Quebec in 1847.
Today, the descendants of Irish immigrants comprise 40% of French-speaking Quebecers and are regarded as models of integration into Quebecois society. From fishing villages in the Gaspé, to ghettos, news desks and government chambers in Montreal and Quebec City, the Irish left lasting imprints on the political, social and economic life of La Belle Province. They were prominent too in its artistic life, in its literature and its music. Quebec today houses one of the most extraordinary repositories of Irish music in North America.
Similarly, Irish myths, legends and folkways transferred across the Atlantic and were absorbed into the emergent cultures of nineteenth century Quebec. Today, Irish artifacts, mentifacts and sociofacts form key elements in le patrimoine vivant of the province.
Memoire irlandaise: Irish Cultural Memory in Quebec explores this tangible and intangible heritage in Quebec, through historical profiles, oral memory research, primary documents, field recordings of Irish music, period photographs, bibliographies, videographies and discographies, as well as links to Quebec-Irish academic, cultural, media and community resources.