News
Thursday June 22, 2017

irish-walk-to-the-rock-large

Erected on December 1, 1859, the Irish Commemorative stone was the first Canadian monument to represent the famine of 1847.

 

By Alan Hustak for VMO
Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The St. Patrick’s parade isn’t the only time of year when Irish pride takes to Montreal streets.

Each year, on the last Sunday in May, the Irish community walks one kilometer from St. Gabriel’s Church in Point St. Charles to the black rock near the St. Lawrence River. One of the oldest monuments in Montreal, the rock commemorates the city’s Irish Catholic identity.

This year, the walk to the stone takes place May 25 following the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Gabriel’s.

The rough-hewn stone is in an inconvenient location, standing on a traffic island in the middle of Bridge Street at the entrance to the Victoria Bridge.  The granite boulder was pulled from the St. Lawrence River in 1859 by Irish laborers building the bridge. The bridge’s contractors placed the stone to mark the location where thousands of Irish immigrants who died of typhus in 1847 were dumped in mass graves by the riverbank.

The inscription, oddly, makes no mention of the Irish, and simply reads that the black rock is intended to ”preserve from desecration the remains of 6,000 immigrants who died of ship fever. AD 1847-48.”

Initially, the stone and title to the gravesite were given to the Anglican Diocese of Montreal by the Grand Trunk Railway, which owned the property.   The site was quickly neglected, hidden under  “tangled grass and sturdy weeds. ” By 1897, at a commemorative event marking the 50th anniversary of the Irish famine, there were suggestions that a more fitting monument be erected.  Then, in 1900, the Grand Trunk Railway announced it was going to lay tracks across the burial ground. Without telling anyone, it uprooted the stone and moved it to St. Patrick’s Square in Griffintown.

Outraged by the corporate insensitivity, the Ancient Order of Hibernians claimed the stone as its own, took the railway to court demanding it be returned, and won. The stone was brought back close to its original location and re-dedicated in 1913.

The tradition of the annual walk to the stone began in the early 1920s when congregations from St. Ann’s Church and St. Gabriel’s Church began walking to the stone on the last Sunday in May.

 

Last Night at the Gayete

last-night-gayete-intro


By Deborah Rankin

The Centaur Theatre's 2015-2016 season is drawing to a close with its final production of Last Night at the Gayety, a musical comedy by Bowser & Blue which runs until May 22nd.

Read more

 

Twitter response: "Invalid or expired token."

Paul Donovan walks the Camino Ignatiano

Follow former Loyola High School principal, Paul Donovan, as he walks the famous 700km Camino Ignatiano.

camino-ignatiano-map

 

Read his blog

ESCC


2005 St-Marc
Montreal, Qc.
H3H 2G8
Tel: 514.937.2301, ext #252, 256
Fax: 514.907.5010
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website

VILLE MARIE ONLINE

About us

Support us

Advertise with us

Privacy and security

Logon with social media

vmo donate