New website charts mass emigration to Newfoundland

Mr Martin said the connections between Canada and Ireland are keenly felt, and there are few places in the world where Irish identity and heritage is as embedded and prolific as Canada.
New website charts mass emigration to Newfoundland

Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Nancy Smyth, Lord Mayor Cllr Deirdre Forde, An Taoiseach Mihceál Martin (Back Row)Mary Butler TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health, Ralph Tapper, George Peer, Patrick Mannion, Alton Howlett, Eamonn Ó Murchú, Chair Ireland Newfoundland Connections and Cllr John O’Leary Mayor of Waterford City and County at the launch of the Mannion Collection records in Cork City Hall. Photo Darragh Kane

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has launched a website containing the records of almost 100,000 people and families who migrated from South-East Ireland to Newfoundland between 1765 and 1835.

The Mannion Collection contains a digitised version of extensive records held by John Mannion, Galway-born retired professor of geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland and his wife and research partner, Maura.

The collection, which Mr Martin launched in Cork City Hall, reflects Mr and Ms Mannion’s lifetimes’ work on Irish emigration to Newfoundland.

Among the dignitaries present at the launch were Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Deirdre Forde, and the Canadian ambassador to Ireland, Nancy Smyth. Mr and Ms Mannion were unable to attend, but joined the ceremony by Zoom.

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking at the launch of the Mannion Collection records in Cork City Hall. Photo Darragh Kane
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking at the launch of the Mannion Collection records in Cork City Hall. Photo Darragh Kane

Mr Martin said the connections between Canada and Ireland are keenly felt, and there are few places in the world where Irish identity and heritage is as embedded and prolific as Canada.

“I was delighted to be asked to officiate at this launch which expresses the spirit of the second sentence of Article 2 of our Constitution, revised as part of the Good Friday Agreement, that now reads ‘... the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage’, the Taoiseach said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the examples of genealogy and that ‘completion of the circle’ of information which this dataset allows,” Mr Martin said.

The project was jointly funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and the Provincial Government of Newfoundland & Labrador, and contains almost 100,000 records of individuals and families who migrated from South-East Ireland and settled in Newfoundland, primarily in the years 1765 - 1835.

The digitisation work was carried out by dedicated technical staff at the Newfoundland and Labrador Statistics Agency in St. John’s, the NL Government’s central statistics agency.

Eamonn Ó Murchú, Chair Ireland Newfoundland Connections speaking at the launch of the Mannion Collection records in Cork City Hall. Photo Darragh Kane
Eamonn Ó Murchú, Chair Ireland Newfoundland Connections speaking at the launch of the Mannion Collection records in Cork City Hall. Photo Darragh Kane

The project was co-managed and led by the Agency and Memorial University’s Sean Cadigan, with collaboration and support of the NL Irish Connections and Irish Newfoundland Connections groups.

The chairperson of cultural body Newfoundland-Labrador Irish Connections, Councillor Ralph Tapper of Torbay, said he was delighted that the digitisation of the records meant they would be available to everyone.

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