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IntroductionExplore the Communities

Section title: Irish
Introduction | History | Daily Life | Culture | References


Language and Religion

  St. Patrick's Catholic Church in city of Québec, circa 1958

Irish immigrants were divided into two Christian religious groups: Roman Catholic and Protestant. The Protestant Irish spoke English and were mainly farmers. They found it quite easy to fit into Canadian communities. The Irish-Catholic Canadians preserved many of their Celtic traditions, including their language. Many early settlers from Ireland spoke Irish Gaelic within their own communities. Today you may hear English spoken with an Irish accent in the original settlement areas of Canada.

Banner of the Orange Lodge in Toronto, showing King William crossing the River Boyne  

For early Irish Catholics in Canada, the centre of their lives was the Roman Catholic Church. It was the spiritual and social centre of their society. For Irish Protestants, the Orange Lodge was part of their social and political life, in addition to their church. The two Irish cultural groups were represented by "the orange and the green." The orange lily (Protestant) and the green shamrock (Catholic) were important symbols of Irish identity.



Orange Lodge: the Orange Lodge organized social and community activities, welcomed Protestant arrivals to Canada and took part in various public political debates.

shamrock: a plant with 3-lobed leaves (similar to clover leaves)


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