The Irish of Albert County

By Beulah Morrissey, Winnie Smith and Gerald Teahan

As the early land grants and census records show, the Irish first came to Albert County as early as 1818. They came from both the north and south of Ireland, as desperation had probably driven them from their homeland where there was much persecution and little chance of employment. They emigrated from County Antrim, Cork, Donegal, Fermanagh, Kerry, Londonderry, Louth, Mayo, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone and Waterford.1

The Irish people who made Albert County their home came here after first arriving in the City of Saint John, in Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island, sometimes after living in those areas for a time. If they arrived in Saint John they then made their way up the Shepody Road, also known as the Immigrant Road, often walking the long distance. Some went towards the area of Hastings, which is now in Fundy National Park, but mostly they settled in a place they called New Ireland, with names such as Galway and Kerry within this community reflecting their beloved homeland. Hastings and New Ireland were both hilly areas with elevations of approximately 1250 feet. Small pockets of the Irish people coming from Nova Scotia and Saint John by boat settled in near the water in Point Wolfe and Goose River, also now within Fundy National Park. Here, weir fishing was begun in 1840 by Brian Doherty. Shad was also plentiful until about 1880, when it was supposed that the sawdust from the many mills led to their decline.