Canada Day in Ireland: County Monaghan celebrates ties to P.E.I.
Event will welcome Canadians abroad, focus on shared connections
We all know Islanders are big on their St. Patrick's Day celebrations — and now a county in Ireland is drawing on shared connections with P.E.I. and preparing to celebrate Canada Day.
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On July 1 of this year, County Monaghan will host its inaugural Canada Day celebration complete with raising the Canadian flag, an address from Canada's Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers and an evening of Irish music and dancing.
For a number of reasons, I would suggest, Ireland is indebted to Canada.— Seán Conlon
It will also include a talk by scholar Thomas O'Grady, who is originally from P.E.I., about migration from County Monaghan to P.E.I., which dates back two centuries.
"Heritage and culture and genealogy and history is a very strong focal point in all this," said Seán Conlon, a county councillor and one of the organizers of the event.
"A lot of festivals … would be associated mostly with music and bands and dancing," he said. "Something of a literary nature and of culture and heritage is a little something unique."
'Giving something back'
"I suppose, in a sense, it's a gesture of giving something back," said Conlon.
His county has benefited from the tourism of Islanders looking to learn about their Irish ancestors — and is officially twinned with Fort Augustus, Emyvale and Kellys Cross in P.E.I. and with Miramichi, N.B. — but Conlon said it goes beyond that.
"Canada has been a very generous host nation to so many of our young people … with the economic downturn," he said. "For a number of reasons, I would suggest, Ireland is indebted to Canada."
Delegation from P.E.I. at celebration
A group of four Islanders from P.E.I.'s Fort Augustus Irish Descendents Association is attending the event, including chair Mary Leah Trainor.
"I think it will be just as an exciting time as it would be here," said Trainor. "Deep down, it's celebrating for the same reason."
Conlon hopes other Canadians who will be in Ireland will make the trek to County Monaghan to celebrate — or will plan to go in future years.
"People coming to our location, they would experience something off the beaten track regarding the hospitality and the welcoming they would get," he said.