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Sligo’s connection with New Brunswick, Canada

Through assisted emigration during the Famine period, Sligo has a special link with the Canadian province of New Brunswick. One of the county’s landlords in the Famine years was Henry Temple, Viscount Palmerston, the future British Prime Minister. Palmerston had two Sligo estates: Ahamlish in the northern part of the county, bordering Donegal, and the other at Coolavin in the south. There was a population of about 9700 in the Ahamlish area on the eve of the Famine. During 1847, Palmerston through his agents, Messrs Stewart and Kincaid, organised the assisted emigration of about 2000 of his tenants to Canada. Nine ships were chartered, with five going to Grosse Isle in Quebec, three to New Brunswick and one, the Carricks was wrecked.


To enable the study of New Brunswick’s Irish links, the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick has developed the New Brunswick Irish Portal. Through a combination of exhibits and databases, it provides very important resources.  The exhibits include documents, newspaper extracts and images, with a section being devoted to the sad case of the Eliza Liddell, a ship that sailed from Sligo and landed at Shippegan on 27 July 1847. Amongst its 128 passengers were 77 Palmerston tenants. Many of the passengers were destitute and sick, and the case received considerable publicity in New Brunswick. The databases available through the portal include the archives of St John’s Almshouse, immigrant letters and census records from 1851 and 1861.


Link to New Brunswick Irish Portal:





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