From Famine to Freedom – Ireland to Grosse Ile

For  singer Méav Ni Mhaolchatha 's upcomingtwo Quebec solo concerts  (29/30 September) with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, Brendan Graham has created a special interlinked song cycle and narrative, entitled From Famine to Freedom – Ireland to Grosse Ile.

The setting for the  20 minute  piece is the mid -1800's, during Ireland's Great Famine and is adapted from his longer work – Writing The Famine in Fiction and Song – first presented during Ireland's National Famine Commemoration Week, 2010.

During the waves of  nineteenth-century immigration  to North America and Canada, inland islands became the quarantine stations for those arriving to the New World. In New York it was Ellis Island: in Boston, Deer Island and in Quebec, it was Grosse Ile.

In the summer of Black '47, at the height of An Gorta Mor, 90,000 people fleeing Ireland arrived at Grosse Ile. Many more perished on the voyage, cast overboard at sea or into the St. Lawrence River.

John Mills, then Mayor of Montreal declared:'We cannot turn those people away famished like the Eastern United States and Liverpool did'. And Canadians did not. At great peril to their own lives they opened their arms to these immigrants in a way in which the people of no other country had done. They nursed and fed them, taking into their homes the many children orphaned by typhus.

In the Irish Cemetery, the monument erected there in 1848 by Grosse Ile's medical superintendent, George Mellis Douglas, still stands:

'In this secluded spot lie the mortal remains of 5,424 persons who, flying from pestilence and famine in Ireland, in the year 1847,  found in America but a grave'.

In remembrance of that period of Ireland and Canada's shared history,  Méav Ni Mhaolchatha and the Quebec Symphony Orchestra will pay homage to all those who fled to Canada – and to all those Canadians who, so generously received them.

Latest News

About IMRO
Our Board
Our People
Press Room
Governance & Policy
Music Creators
Members' Handbook
About Copyright
How do I Copyright a Piece of Music?
Copyright & Traditional Music
Muso Online Protection Solution
History of Performing Rights
FAQs on Copyright
Royalty Distribution Schedule
IMRO Distribution Policies
Competitions & Opportunities
Travel Grant Form
Irish Radio & Useful Contacts
Other Music Bodies in Ireland
Structure of the Irish Music Industry
Affinity Schemes
Music Creators FAQs
International Partners
Music Users
Do I Need a Licence?
Sign Up for a Music Licence
Pay Your Licence Online
IMRO and PPI Tariffs
Dual Music Licence Explained
Music Licences for Businesses
Hair, Beauty & Health
Factories & Offices
Leisure, Sports, Social & Fitness
Functions & Other Events
Pubs & Bars
Restaurants & Hotels
Music on Hold
Music Licences for Live Events
Music Licences for Broadcast & Online
Music for TV Broadcast
IMRO TV Blanket Licence
MCPS TV Blanket Licence
Independent Production Company Licence
Secondary Exploitation / Programme Sales
Music for Radio Broadcast
Music for Online Music Use
Online Music Licences
General Entertainment On Demand (GEOD)
General Entertainment On Demand (GEOD) Licence Form
Performing Right Online Licence (PROL)
Performing Right Online Licence (PROL) Form
Music licences for Recorded Media
Production Music
Production Music Form
Individual Synchronisation (Sync) Rights
Music Licences for CDs & DVDs
AP2 Form
Covermount AP7
AP7 (CD) Form
AP7 (DVD) Form
Premium Products
DVD / AVP Licence (Audio-visual product)
Music Services B2B
Music Users FAQs
FAQs on Music Licensing
What’s Your Soundtrack Campaign
Supporting Music
IMRO Live Music Venue Awards
IMRO Tune-Up Your Business Award
IMRO Academy
IMRO Seminars & Workshops
IMRO Music for Film & TV
Other Voices 2019
Sponsorship Applications
News Archive
Contact Us