Tony O'Loughlin Transcript
Interior shot. Bearded man with grey hair wearing a light blue shirt seated and speaking to camera. Grey bricks and a display board are visible in background.
My name is Tony O’Loughlin. I am in Kingston, Ontario, and I’m from Belfast.
In 1847 an estimated fifty thousand Irish came through Kingston. Many of them were carrying the Typhus. There is an estimated 1,400 Famine victims in Kingston.
Many of them were buried on the grounds of Kingston General Hospital in what was then a swamp area. That’s because it was easier to dig for mass graves.
But Kingston was totally overwhelmed. It was a small emigrant hospital at the time of fifty straw beds. The first matron of Kingston General Hospital – Mrs Martin – both her and her daughter died helping the Irish.
One of the Hôtel Dieu Nuns, Sister McGorian – she also died helping the Irish.
There was another three hundred, approximately, Kingstonians that died helping the Irish. They were buried in Kingston’s upper cemetery – the upper cemetery from 1813 to 1865. And also on the grounds of Kingston General Hospital.
There was an estimated thousand four hundred, approximately. We don’t have the exact number, but certainly over a thousand – they were buried on the grounds of Kingston General Hospital.
In 1966, a small number of those remains were moved up to St Mary’s Cemetery because the Kingston General Hospital wanted to expand. In fact, they built Etherington Hall.
When you look at the records, there was only a very, very small number of those remains from the mass Irish grave that were moved to St. Mary’s Cemetery. Most of those remains are still there under the parking lot.
So today we do have a concern because the hospital again is expanding, and Etherington Hall – more work will be done in that area, and the hall will be taken down. So we do have a concern that we keep up with Kingston General Hospital, and we are part of what is being done, so that we acknowledge and have archaeologists there for the mass Irish grave that is under the parking lot and Etherington Hall.
Today we have expanded the Celtic music, we do have videos up on Youtube: one in particular we’re proud of is “Galway Girl Kingston””, but we use the music to help promote the history. The history is quite dry on its own, or can be. So if you get a chance, check it out. It will include some of the history as well.
We do need to put up plaques now at all of the monuments that we have put up in Kingston: to the Rideau Canal workers, to the Irish Famine victims.
Final image of water with on screen Ireland Park Foundation logo. Celtic style music playing.