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Irish Roots & Rants

With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon we thought it fitting to share why Newfoundland culture is brimming with Irish influences – here within are some of our favourites:

1. HISTORY

The Irish migrations to Newfoundland represent the oldest and most enduring connections between Ireland and Canada! Between the 1770′s – 1780′s more than 100 ships and 5,000 men cleared Irish ports for the fishery. These migrations were one of the most substantial movement of Irish across the Atlantic in the 18th century. In Newfoundland they created a distinctive subculture and their descendants emerged as fully-fledged Newfoundlanders! The Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Society have a great piece on the Irish in Newfoundland. Check it out here!

Waterford, Ireland is twinned with St. John’s, Newfoundland

2. THE WAY WE SPEAK

Do you know what a “scrob” is? How about a “sleveen“? There are more varieties of English spoken in Newfoundland and Labrador than anywhere else in the world! Dating back four centuries, our accents are flavoured by Southern Ireland. Some Irish settlers only spoke Irish Gaelic. It disappeared from the island early in the 20th century, but has left a number of traces – you’ll even find a Dictionary of Newfoundland English that contains hundreds of words and phrases you’ll find nowhere else!

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3. THE IRISH LOOP

The Irish Loop, located on the southeastern part of the Avalon Peninsula, is named to reflect over 400 years of history by Irish immigrant settlers. The Loop, as it is more commonly called, is the heart of Irish culture and heritage in Newfoundland and Labrador. Interesting fact: in 1620 The Mayflower stopped in Renews (on the Irish Loop) for supplies on its way to America! Make sure to stay tuned as this summer we will be taking in The Irish Loop Drive: an adventure to some of the most exciting history, culture, and natural experiences you will find anywhere! This area has the world’s largest puffin colony, the oldest continuous permanent settlement in Canada, a picnic to be enjoyed with amazing scenery, and a unique culture that reflects the settlement of Irish immigrants over the past 400 years.

Cape Race, on The Irish Loop. Photo by NL Tourism.

4. GLOBAL GREENING

In Newfoundland, St. Patricks Day is a public holiday and we celebrate in style! Global Greening, an initiative by Tourism Ireland, sees a host of major landmarks and iconic sites across the world turn green around St Patrick’s Day. The Greenings are emblematic of a relationship that Ireland has built with countries around the world that take part out of a spirit of friendship, respect and partnership. This year Signal Hill National Historic Site will be going green for the celebrations! We’re in great company – sharing the green spotlight with such famous sights as The London Eye, The Empire State Building, The Leaning Tower of Pisa and even Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland Paris!

Signal Hill National Historic Site will go green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Here in Newfoundland we are proud to celebrate our Irish NL Culture and promote our historical roots. WestJet has even announced a new flight direct from St. John’s to Dublin – celebrating the Irish/NL connection has never been easier! What are you waiting for? Come for a visit – you may bump into a few cousins.

Tour Group at Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve on The Irish Loop. Photo by NL Tourism.