Source: Quebec City and the Quebec City St. Patrick’s Day Parade
According to some sources, nearly 40% of the population of Quebec City is of Irish origin. While it is virtually impossible to confirm this percentage, it is certain that the ties between the city and its Irish population are close, deep and firmly rooted.
The Irish presence in Quebec City was most evident in 1816, when many Irish settled in the city. In the 1830’s, thousands of them disembarked on the docks. This massive immigration movement culminated in 1847, the worst year of the Great Famine in Ireland. More than 90,000 immigrants, mostly Irish, crossed the Atlantic to the port of Quebec. But about 17,000 of them, infected with typhus, died at sea, at the quarantine station of Grosse-Île or in the cities of Quebec and Montreal, where the epidemic spread.
At that time, the Irish found work in the wood coves of the Quebec City area, often loading ships bound for Great Britain. They settled in the Cap Diamant area, Près-de-Ville, the suburbs of Saint-Jean and Saint-Louis, in St-Roch, Cap-Rouge and especially in Sillery, where they formed the majority of the population in 1861.
The Irish in Quebec City participated fully in the development of the city. Over time, they are found throughout the business world in trade unions, press, politics, sports and cultural activities. There were also many marriages within the local population: a merging that profoundly modified the social fabric of the city. Today, many Quebecers have Irish origins, often hidden under French names.
It goes without saying that the Irish community’s contribution to Quebec culture is significant. Thus, St. Patrick’s Day in Quebec City is a great opportunity to celebrate this long-standing relationship!