From Cork to Canada

There are perhaps hundreds of thousands of people descended from more than 2,000 Irish who traveled from Cork to Canada in the 1820’s as part of an experiment in assisted emigration. Over 50,000 people applied to be among Peter Robinson’s settlers, from which 2,024 were selected. It’s a fascinating story that I hadn’t come across before. Many of the settlers came from the towns and villages surrounding the Blackwater River in County Cork. I live near the area and have taken boat trips on this waterway, which runs through a rich and fertile landscape dotted with ruined castles and stately homes.

wpid-dsc_0205.jpgwpid-dsc_0211.jpgwpid-dsc_0378.jpgwpid-dsc_0235.jpgwpid-dsc_0242.jpgwpid-dsc_0226.jpgBlackwater river Ireland.

Canadian, Mary Cooper, descendant of Patrick and Margaret Heffernan from Kilworth, shares the story of her family, who took that journey from Cork to Canada in 1823 among Peter Robinson’s Settlers. How difficult it must have been for them to leave family and friends behind, knowing they might never set eyes on them again.


About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in History, Ireland, nature, social issues, society and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to From Cork to Canada

  1. Jim says:

    interesting. hopefully I can find out more about my family next year when I travel to Ireland.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan Antion says:

    Beautiful photos, the area is lovely. Canada is leading the effort in North America to accept immigrants from the middle east today. I wonder if someone will look back in 200 years to study that?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. joannesisco says:

    My parents were both immigrants and I know the feeling of growing up in a household with a huge sense of loss of the family left behind.
    As a result, I have a great deal of respect for the courage of immigrants. It is not an easy life they choose. Their eye is on the future for their children and a boundless faith that it will be better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree with you about their courage, Joanne. At least today, with cheaper air travel, the world has become a little smaller for us but that’s assuming you have the funds to make regular trips home. Faith and hope in the future is really important.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What an interesting story.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ali Isaac says:

    Beautiful images. Yes, travel in those days was a big endeavor, wasn’t it? So many families lost contact, because contact was practically non existent, not to mention the increased risks to health and life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found it difficult enough when we lived in Spain and that was only a couple of hours of a flight away and we could Skype and telephone each other. Even Australia is is only a couple of plane journeys from here.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. pattimoed says:

    Hi Jean. Interesting bit of history. From Cork to Canada. I recently found out that my Irish great grandfather came to New York, worked for a while for American Express–when it was a stagecoach company–and went back to Ireland after a huge fire. It’s interesting that we often think of immigration as a one-way trip, but sometimes it’s not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True Patti. In our case we emigrated for almost eight years but at the beginning we thought it would be for much longer – sold our house, up sticks and went. My intentions were to retire back to Ireland but we came home a lot sooner, due to the recession.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pattimoed says:

        I heard that Ireland was hit pretty hard in the recession. It’s so sad. I had thought the “boom” would last a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • We left at the beginning of the boom, Patti. My husband was out of work and in his forties, which meant he wasn’t as ’employable’ as a younger man – even though he took courses and retrained. The boom was great for some but didn’t make a lot of difference to others. With higher earnings, people all over Europe were investing in property in Spain and Portugal. So in a roundabout way we did gain employment from the boom (working for Spanish real estate companies who needed native English speakers). At the time in Spain, it was easier to gain employment as an older worker than it was here in Ireland.

          Liked by 1 person

    • We’ve been back in Ireland for almost eight years now, Patti. The economy has been making a slow recovery, jobs are a little easier to get but that may be due to the high emigration level, so many young people have left. It’s easier for women to find work than men in most cases, so while there is such a big female workforce the beauty industry was one of the first sectors to bounce back from the recession.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t even imagine, I would never want to leave my children.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hope and fear, loss and gain — twin themes in the experience of most immigrants.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I’ve been doing some family history. This is my extended family… I would really love to be in touch…. My Name is Margaret Farrell, My family was from Guelph/Arthur ON. I live about one hour From Niagara Falls NY. I am in touch with All my Canadian Cousins….. I would love to talk to you to you… My number is 585-964-3867. Looking forward to speaking with you. I don’t go on the computer very often. So If we could use the phone, that would be great…. Thanks so much

    Liked by 1 person

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