The Irish in Canada Podcast

Episode #9 – The Ghost of Griffintown

Our final episode this season recounts the tale of Mary Gallagher, Montreal’s ‘Ghost of Griffintown,’ and the gory murder that has had her ghost searching for her lost head for the nearly 150 years. Well known to Irish Montrealers but not to many who live outside of the city, the story of Mary Gallagher and Susan Kennedy Myers – the woman who allegedly murdered her – brings together themes of Irishness, alcoholism, sexism, violence, and the supernatural. We’re also not necessarily convinced that Susan was the murderer…

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Episode #8 – The Gender, Migration & Madness Project

The Gender, Migration & Madness Project (www.gendermigrationandmadness.ca) is our focus this week: a multi-year investigation Jane has been leading that explores how the Irish were treated in Canadian colonial lunatic asylums in the mid-nineteenth century. Did negative stereotypes about the Irish affect the ways in which they were treated once they were institutionalised? And what led to them being confined in asylums in the first place?

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Episode #7 – The Shiners

In another country, the dark legends about The Shiners might never have been forgotten. But in Canada? How many people today are aware that one of the most dangerous cities in North America used to be…Ottawa? Not many, we bet – and yet, it was. The Shiners – violent, intimidating, criminal Irish lumberjacks living along the Ottawa River in the 1830s – fly in the face of every image of Canada as ‘the peaceable kingdom’. That might be why they’ve been usually overlooked in Canadian history – until now.

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Episode #6 – I Love A Man In Uniform

Jane gets a bit carried away this week, but we can see why. James FitzGibbon was one of the best-known Irishmen in pre-Famine Canada as a hero of the War of 1812, the defender of Toronto, and a one-man riot-squad brought in to stop sectarian violence. He was beloved, trusted, and a friend to all Irish immigrants and the colonial establishment. So, why has he now become one of the more forgotten characters from Canada’s past?

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Episode #5 – The Gowans

Ogle Gowan was an Orangeman, a politician, a journalist, a rabble-rouser, and the illegitimate son of one of Co. Wexford’s most notorious anti-Catholics. His use of violence to achieve political ends in Upper Canada made him a hero to some, and a villain to others – even members of his own family. This episode explores Ogle Gowan’s life and career, and also investigates some very passionate love letters written by his wife…to his cousin.

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Episode #4 – Orange Beginnings

The Orange Order – an Irish Protestant fraternal association founded in the 1790s – was hugely popular in English-speaking Canada in the nineteenth century, although it’s mostly forgotten today. How did Orangemen become so successful, both politically and culturally? Why did they take root so firmly in parts of Upper Canada? And what did this success in Canada have to do with the 1798 Irish Rising?

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Episode #3 – The 1832 Cholera Epidemic

Epidemic, pandemic, quarantine – these are words we’re very used to now, in a way that we arguably haven’t been in nearly 200 years. In 1832, Irish immigrants flooded into the Canadas, fleeing for their lives as cholera, a highly contagious and deadly disease, ravaged Europe, Britain, and Ireland. They didn’t receive the warmest of welcomes.

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Episode #2 – Grace Marks

In late July 1843, the colony of Upper Canada was stunned with the news of a bloody double-murder. Thomas Kinnear had been shot and Nancy Montgomery – his housekeeper and pregnant mistress – had been strangled and dismembered. The two people accused of the murders were Kinnear’s Irish servants: James McDermott and the teenager, Grace Marks. Grace’s story has since become one of the most famous fictionalised episodes from nineteenth century Canada, but what was the real Grace like?

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Episode #1 – Introductions

Jane offers a brief overview of who we are, what we hope to achieve with the podcast, and a few of her inspirations for the first season of the show.

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