Friday 19 July 2019

Remains of Famine shipwreck victims buried in Canada 172 years after they fled starvation in Ireland

The remains of 21 Irish people who died in a shipwreck trying to reach Canada have being laid to rest following a ceremony at the Irish Memorial in Forillon National Park. Photo credit: Parks Canada/PA Wire
The remains of 21 Irish people who died in a shipwreck trying to reach Canada have being laid to rest following a ceremony at the Irish Memorial in Forillon National Park. Photo credit: Parks Canada/PA Wire
The remains of 21 Irish people who died in a shipwreck trying to reach Canada have being laid to rest following a ceremony at the Irish Memorial in Forillon National Park. Photo credit: Parks Canada/PA Wire
The National Famine Monument
This very rare photo shows an unknown famine survivor taken in 1853
A statue in memorial of Irish Famine emigrants in Toronto; bones that washed up on a Canadian beach are believed to belong to passengers of a sunken Irish famine ship
The Irish Famine Memorial on the north quay in Dublin
Starving people raid a potato store in Galway during the Famine in an image published in the London Times in the 1840s.

Rebecca Black

The remains of 21 Irish shipwreck victims which washed up on a beach in Canada have been laid to rest.

Human bones were found on a beach at Cap-des-Rosiers, Quebec, between 2011 and 2016.

It was confirmed earlier this year that the remains were from the Carricks ship, which had been transporting 180 Irish people across the Atlantic when it sank.

The Carricks departed Sligo in 1847 for the port of Quebec when it sank off the coast of Cap-des-Rosiers. 'Black 47' was the worst year of the Famine .

The bones were identified at the bioarchaeology laboratory at the University of Montreal as belonging to three children, aged between seven and 12.

In 2016 the remains of a further 18 people were discovered, mostly women and children.

The analysis also revealed that the victims would have eaten a diet mainly of potato, as was common in Ireland at the time, and that they had been suffering from pathologies probably caused by malnutrition.

READ MORE: Sligo's population dropped by third during the Famine

The remains of the 21 were laid to rest following a ceremony on Thursday at the Irish Memorial on Cap-des-Rosiers Beach.

Pat Ward, 63, from Keash, Co Sligo, told the BBC his family believes some of their ancestors were among those who died in the shipwreck.

He said it was "very emotional" to think his ancestors may be among those recovered, but the ceremony would "bring closure".

READ MORE: The Irish and the Canadians: grievances, guns and socks

Marie-Eve Murray, of Forillon National Park in Canada, said the ceremony was attended by around 150 people, including descendants of some of the survivors of the shipwreck.

"A ceremony intended to pay homage to the victims of the Carricks shipwreck took place on Thursday July 4 at 10.30am at the site of the Irish Memorial, located on Du Banc trail, North Area of the Forillon National Park," she told PA.

"This ceremony, organised by the St-Alban Parish Council in Cap-des-Rosiers in collaboration with Parks Canada, was attended by around 150 people: the descendants of the survivors, dignitaries and the local population."

The Irish Famine is believed to have killed a million people between 1845 and 1849 when the potato crop failed and a million more emigrated.

READ MORE: Minister to liaise with Canadian officials after scientists link human remains with Irish famine shipwreck

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