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Joyicity: October 2023

In this issue:
– A word from our President, Kevin Wright
– Reflecting on Our Journey: The Canadian Irish Migration Preservation Network
– The Siamsa Singers: Celtic-focused choir returns to their autumn classes
– St. Patrick’s Parade Royalty Unite for Cause
– Concordia Irish Studies Ph.D Student’s historical analysis of Irish mafia romance novels
– Halloween Traditions and History: Where to celebrate Samhain in Montreal!

A Word from the President
The twelfth edition of Festival Bloomsday Montreal came to a conclusion on June 16, 2023.  This year we focused on some of the many facets of the Irish mindset. We opened with a conversation between James Phelan and Dennis Trudeau about Joyce, literature and Irish culture.  We had a concert of sacred music which, contrary to what might be expected, would have pleased James Joyce.  There was also music of a more traditional genre which also would have pleased the eclectic Mr. Joyce.

The academic panels with Giselle Gonzalez Garcia, Meaghan Landrigan-Buttle, Samara O’Gorman and Louise Cauchon in the morning and in the afternoon, B.W. Powe, an expert on Marshal McLuhan, provided a more serious aspect to the festivities.

The War at Home, a film about the efforts to integrate and support Ukrainian refugees in Ireland proved to be a very emotional experience for members of the Ukrainian community in Montreal.

Montreal author, publisher and founder of Blue Metropolis Linda Leith shared her memories of the literary world, interspersed with fiddle tunes played by Jonathan Moorman, a member of the group The Swindlers.

The readings on June 16th proved to be very popular as well.

Each of this year’s events was of a very high caliber thanks to the many volunteers who organized them.

The festival is reconsidering its pricing policy for 2024.  All of our sponsors have seen some difficult times, and the technology required to provide our services online has become very expensive.  In an upcoming edition of Joyicity we will go into more detail about how we propose to fund the festival without risking a deficit. We are thankful to all those who made a donation by going to our website, and used the link to Canada Helps.

Samhain, the Celtic New Year, is coming. Happy Hallowe’en to everyone!

Kevin Wright
Festival Bloomsday Montreal


Reflecting on Our Journey: The Canadian Irish Migration Preservation Network (CIMPN)
The Canadian Irish Migration Preservation Network (CIMPN) is a collective of dedicated individuals bound by a common mission: to preserve, conserve, and promote Irish heritage on both local and global scales. As we take a moment to reflect on our journey, we are humbled by the impact we’ve made and excited about the path ahead.

A Transformation for the Ages:
From our modest beginnings, the CIMPN has evolved into a vibrant and dynamic community of Irish descendants, educators, historians, genealogists, and enthusiasts. Our shared conviction in safeguarding the narratives of Irish migration has fueled a strong dedication to promoting the value of preserving Irish history both locally and abroad.

Unveiling the Success of Heritage Day:
One of our proudest accomplishments was the establishment of Irish Heritage Day on July 30th, 2023, in Saint-Colomban. We are hoping this becomes an annual event and a cherished tradition that brings together Irish descendants and enthusiasts to celebrate our shared heritage. It was a day of storytelling, connection, and a vibrant display of Irish culture. Irish Heritage Day fostered a sense of unity and pride that went beyond individual stories, creating a collective narrative that speaks to the heart of Irish identity in our community.

A Glimpse into the Future:
As we look forward, our goals remain rooted in our mission. We envision a future where the legacy of Irish migration continues to thrive, inspiring and enriching the lives of generations to come. Through meticulous research, impactful storytelling, and the protection of our cultural landmarks, we strive to ensure that the contributions of Irish migrants are forever etched into the narrative of Canadian heritage. Our journey has been defined by our core values: representation, integrity, fiscal responsibility, transparency, and respect. These values guide every decision we make, ensuring that our actions are aligned with our mission and the public we serve.

Support Our Mission:
In sharing our story, we hope to inspire others to join us in celebrating Irish heritage and consider becoming a member. To contribute to our efforts and help preserve Irish heritage for future generations, please consider donating on our website or

Together, we’re shaping the future while preserving the treasures of our past. If you are considering beginning a similar cemetery restoration project, you can find some of our instruction videos here:

Warmest regards,

Kelley O’Rourke
CIMPN President


The Siamsa Singers: Celtic-focused choir returns to their autumn classes
The Siamsa Singers are part of the Siamsa Montreal School of Irish Music, which has been running classes for 30 years. Since 2008 the Singers have been ably directed by Sarah Burnell (2008-2015), Emilie Martin (2015-2018) and in more recent years, Ros Williams.

We are a vocal ensemble who loves to sing songs of Celtic origin, in styles both traditional and modern. We sing in Irish and Scottish Gaelic (with a lot of phonetic help!), as well as English.

It is a non-auditioned choir and we warmly welcome all who share a love for singing. We are a super-friendly community and often find reasons to gather socially over a pot-luck…and more singing! Along with the many instrumental classes of the music school, the choir encourages all participants to increase their musical skills, regardless of their starting point. In our rehearsals we provide opportunities to develop vocal technique, skills in singing in harmony, enhancing our individual singing and our choral sound. We also love to learn some of the background to our songs and the meaning of the lyrics. Many resources are offered for learning the music and support from singers and our choral director is always available and a key feature of our group.

Siamsa Choir

Our classes are offered over two 10-week terms per year and are held on a Thursday evening in the Côte-des-Neiges area, close to the Metro and several bus routes. Our venue also offers ample parking. At the end of each term we participate in a recital, sharing some of our songs and enjoying the achievements of the instrumental classes, followed by a session. We also welcome opportunities to sing in other settings when possible.

You might not be too sure whether this choir is the best fit for you, so we offer the first night free of charge for you to get a feel for the group and give us a chance to demonstrate just how much pleasure singing Celtic songs and meeting folk with a similar passion can bring!

For more information the Siamsa website is a great place to start  You can register via our website or at our registration & session night, September 12 at Hurley’s pub. We can then keep you up to date with what is happening. Classes start September 21, 8.00-9.30 p.m.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to write to me at

Ros Williams
Choir Director


St. Patrick’s Parade Royalty Unite for Cause
The first annual UNITED IRISH CROWNS FOR A CAUSE was hosted by Chateauguay Queen Madison Chandler at BLVD Bar and Grill on September 9th. It all started when Madison was crowned the Queen of the St. Patrick’s day parade on February 18th, 2023. She had such a great time alongside the other Queens and Princesses at all of the events she attended, that she realized that there was a need to unite together and let younger generations know and understand their Irish heritage better. The process of the selection evening can be pretty overwhelming and this was the perfect event to speak to past and present Queens and Princesses to find out all of the ins and outs about becoming part of the Court to make your whole reign fun and exciting! As quite a young queen, at 15 years old, Madison welcomed this fundraiser as great way to come together as an Irish community, and to help local organizations.

The goal of the event was to meet past and present parade Queens and Princesses and find out what the selection evening is all about, all while donating to local food banks. Madison was crowned Queen of the St. Patrick’s Parade this year, 2023 so her goal of raising funds was at a minimum of $2023. To her surprise, $6,600 in total was raised which meant $2,200 went to each food bank! The event itself was a huge success, which included a delicious breakfast buffet, a show by Irish dancers from the Chateauguay Academy of Irish Dance, performances by all 3 current Queens, and a dazzling silent auction!
We will see you again next year for this family friendly Irish heritage experience.

United Irish Crowns Team


Concordia Irish Studies Ph.D Student’s historical analysis of Irish mafia romance novels
One of the joys of grad school truly is being able to take your research and apply it to the world more broadly. As a first year PhD student in history and the School of Irish Studies, 2022 marked an exciting year for me. However, it was also a very sad year, as I lost someone very dear to me in January 2023 after a yearlong battle with cancer. Suddenly, I was faced with a decision: take time off from my studies or figure out a way to stay engaged with the field.

This is how I ended up presenting a historical analysis of masculinities, violence, and Irishness in contemporary dark mafia romance novels at several conferences and events this year, including Montreal’s Bloomsday Festival. As a scholar who works on these subjects in relation to war and commemoration, bringing this lens to a genre I enjoy as a hobby – romance – has been thrilling and has created much needed discussion on the consumption of history.

An unsurprising thing also happened once I began presenting publicly on this subject. So many colleagues within academia began telling me of their love for romance. It wasn’t long until a book club was born – Smart Women Read Romance – where we read romance historically, with a bias towards romance novels that feature Irish or Irish-American main male characters.

This most rewarding thing about this project has been the wonderful conversations I’ve been able to have with the Irish community here in Montreal. My presentations on Irish romance heroes often makes people reflect on how Irishness is represented in popular culture, from the writings of James Joyce to Peaky Blinders and The Gangs of New York. These conversations always stem from the love and appreciation we all have for all things Irish and our desire to ensure that these representations are accurate and done well.

Meaghan Landrigan-Buttle
Ph.D. student in history and Irish Studies at Concordia University


Halloween Traditions and History: Where to celebrate Samhain in Montreal!
Halloween has been looked forward to all year for far longer than many realize. Samhain was an occasion for the whole community to come together to play games, like dipping (bobbing) for apples, as well as carving turnips, among other activities. There are also stories from across various counties about summoning the devil to help find a husband or wife to mixed results.

The day is when Irish Kings were visited by fairy people to tell them of past events and what the following year would bring. From sunset on Oct. 31 to sunset on Nov. 1, the veil between our world and the unknown–be it the realm of the fae or the dead–is said to be the thinnest, where all the spirits who had died between then and the previous year move onto the next life.

The legend of Stingy Jack, who was cursed to roam around with only an ember-lit lantern to light his way. Irish children would carve turnips and–in the new world, pumpkins–to scare away other evil spirits and ‘Jack of the lanterns.’

And if you’re keen to learn more about the lore and legends behind Samhain and other holidays of Irish origin, the School of Irish Studies has a folklore class offers an Irish Mythology and Folklore class taught by Prof. Máirtín Coilféir.

Autumn Darey
Journalism & Irish Studies Student at Concordia University

To celebrate Samhain in Montreal, there are a variety of events you could attend:
Halloween Party Dinner hosted by Innisfail Social & Sports Club on October 27th @ 7PM

Haunted Montreal offers six haunted experiences (four ghost walks, a Haunted Pub Crawl and a Paranormal Investigation. Most of these tours include Irish history and culture. Various dates are featured on their website at

Ye Olde Orchard in Pointe-Claire is hosting a Halloween Party on October 28th with live music, specials, costume contest and prizes.

The School of Irish Studies is hosting their 2nd tea salon of the semester, on Tuesday October 31st @ 11:30 am – Free Tea, Biscuits, Refreshments and traditional Samhain activities!

Oíche shamhna shona daoibh,

Samara O’Gorman
Joyicity Newsletter Editor

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