The 1786 constitution of the Charitable Irish Society emphasized the importance of encouraging, through a society of persons with something in common, assistance to persons in the community entitled to “compassion and relief.” The original members wished by their association “to promote friendship and goodwill,” and this commitment by its members is equally valid today.
On 17 January 1786, a number of respectable Inhabitants of this Province, natives of the Kingdom of Ireland,’ met at Halifax’s Golden Ball Tavern, kept by John O’Brien, to establish The Charitable Irish Society. Together, these ‘Gentlemen, Merchants and others’ declared their ‘affectionate and compassionate concern for any of the Irish Nation, who shall be reduced by sickness, old age, shipwreck or other misfortune,’ and pledged to provide for ‘the relief of such of their poor and indigent Countrymen and their Descendants as may hereafter be found worthy of their countenance and protection.’
Two hundred and twenty-five years later, The Charitable Irish Society continues as a force for good in Halifax. Their mandate has changed and broadened over two centuries, and the Society now offers scholarships, supports Irish Studies at St. Mary’s University, and in the continuing spirit of its founding principles, provides ‘grants to local charities and organizations active in caring for the sick, the elderly, women’s and children’s organizations and others in need.’
Beyond philanthropy, the Charitable Irish Society has a rich history of contributing to the social and cultural life of Halifax. Banquets, balls, picnics and special outings, funeral processions and services for deceased members, and of course the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, were always significant events in a community strongly shaped by its Irish population and heritage.
James Maloney MP and Ambassador Eamonn McKee celebrated the start of Irish Heritage Month on March 1, 2022, with a celebration of special Irish cultural performances, set against the beautiful landscapes of Ireland. Mr. Maloney and Ambassador McKee were also joined in conversation by Canadian and Irish historians to talk about key Irish figures in Canadian history, and their lasting influence. Mr. Maloney is the Chair of the CanadaIreland Interparliamentary Group and it was his motion to make the month of March Irish Heritage Month.
While the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled this year due to uncertainty around Covid 19 restrictions the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with entertainment by Evans & Doherty on March 17th, starting at 7:00 p.m. Get your tickets early by calling 902-492- 4900, Ext. 1. $30.00 per person.