St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal (1834-2009)
By Don Pidgeon
On March 19th 1835 the Courier (Montreal newspaper) noted the March 17th, 1835 record of St. Patrick’s Society. It noted that on St. Patrick’s Day members of St. Patrick’s Society assembled numerously at their Committee Room and preceeded by the band of the 24th Regiment formed a procession (parade) to the Papish Church (Notre Dame Cathedral) for High Mass. After the service, the procession returned to the Committee Room where a banner ornamented with the Irish Harp and bearing the motto “Erin Go Bragh” was hung from the window.
That evening at six o’clock about 200 men of the Society and guests sat down in the Theatre Royal in Old Montreal for a sumptuous dinner. The President, Mr. O’Sullivan esq. proposed the toasts that were followed by musical airs. Speeches were delivered by the President, the Honourable Peter McGill, Benjamin Holmes (vice-President) and Mr. Walker. Mr. T.A. Begley (also a vice-President) toasted General Jackson and the United States.
Ladies were admitted to the second tier of boxes in the Theatre Royal between eight and nine o’clock that evening to witness the interesting sight.
The St. Patrick’s Society went on to organize the parade for 58 years until 1892.
In this anniversary year of the St. Patrick’s Society we celebrate 175 years of involvement in the community, their leadership in our Irish heritage and their many charitable endeavours. Active members, past and present, contributed to the continuing success of the first national heritage society in this city of Montreal.
Don Pidgeon, Historian