© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Members of the Benevolent Irish Society in Charottetown at the Irish memorial on the boardwalk Saturday to lay a wreath in honour of St. Patrick's Day.
A group of Islanders gathered at the Irish Settlers Memorial on Saturday to commemorate their ancestral home.
While the crowd was small, the pride was strong among the group which braved some feisty winds as it laid a wreath at the memorial in remembrance of the original Irish settlers of P.E.I.
George O’Connor, of the Benevolent Irish Society on Prince Edward Island, said the purpose was to commemorate Irish in the “old country” as well in on the province.
“It’s to remember them, the Irish history, the Irish heritage,” he said.
The BIS was founded in 1825 and is now celebrating its 189th year.
Martin Kenny, of St. Teresa, was at the gathering with members of his family including three grandchildren Caitlin and Liam McGuire and Braden Kenny.
“The reason why we continue to do it is to let them know they came from a background that was difficult,” said Kenny. “Our people came to this country over 100 years ago and we want to keep the history alive, keep the culture alive and keep the idea alive of Irish people all over the world getting together for celebrations with family and others.”
For Jay Kenny, also of St. Teresa, it was the 45th time participating in the event.
“I missed one parade in 46 years,” said Kenny, who was disappointed with the smaller-than-usual crowd.
Saturday’s crowd was small but saw a mix of both young and old.
O’Connor said involving the younger generation is an aim of the BIS.
“That’s how you pass on tradition,” said O’Connor. “That’s how you pass on heritage is to the younger generation, so we’d like to see a lot more in the future.”
O’Connor said he wanted to wish all Islanders a happy St. Patrick’s Day, which is on Monday.
“Hopefully everybody will be involved in one way or another. Either house parties, or the pubs or some of the activities the Benevolent Irish Society is putting on,” he said. “(We want to) just invite everybody to have a very, very happy St. Patricks’ Day.”
The BIS will be holding a St. Patrick’s Day Ceilidh at the Irish Cultural Centre on North River Road in Charlottetown at 8 p.m.
Featured performers will be The Chaissons.