Irish Settlements In Eastern Canada: A Study Of Cultural Transfer And Adaptations By John Mannion

2048 words - 8 pages

Irish Settlements in Eastern Canada: A Study of Cultural Transfer and Adaptations by John Mannion

In the book Irish Settlements in Eastern Canada: A Study of Cultural Transfer and Adaptations, John Mannion attempts to assess the extent to which aspects of Irish traditions and settlement morphology were retained, modified, or lost in a rural settling in the New World. The book focuses on three rural areas of Irish settlement in eastern Canada. These settlements are in Peterborough, which is located in south-central Ontario; in Miramichi, which is in northeast New Brunswick; and in the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. The material folk culture and morphology of settlement in each of the three areas is described in detail and compared to Irish homeland forms.
Mannion starts by discussing the migration of people from their homeland of Ireland across the Atlantic Ocean to eastern Canada. He contends that the movement of the Irish across the ocean resulted in a rapid loss of cultural trait but the rate at which this happened varied in the three study areas. Mannion found that cultural transfer and the durability of transferred traits was apparently greatest in Peterborough, where some homeland traits and trait complexes were readily reproduced and took a while to change because when homeland traits were introduced, they usually did not last very long. He also noted that there were distinct variations between the three study areas both in the rate of transfer and of individual traits although for some traits and trait complexes, the pattern of transfer in all study areas was somewhat similar. This is evident from the farms and the layout of them. This was one of the least transferred traits examined by Mannion. The Irish settlement patterns were transferred more. He found that in all of the study areas though that the Irish field systems were less likely to be reproduced than the farm technology and there was contrast in the extent of transfer of house interiors and exteriors.
Next, Mannion shows how the Irish migrants experienced cultural change when they arrived and settled in the New World. He feels that since so much revolution, transformation, and growth took place in the Irish peasant culture in the 1700's, the Irish immigrants had less changes to make to be able to survive. The book ensues that once an Irishmen left his native land he said farewell to his kin, neighbors, and almost everything that was customary and familiar to him. The move was nevertheless very overwhelming. Mannion contends the immigrants from Ireland were uprooted. He says they were disconnected to their relationships and obligations that brought them together in the homeland and therefore social order could be constructed immediately in the New World. For those who settled in urban areas, there was little homeland experience or tradition that made adaptation easier. He also says it was somewhat less difficult in the countryside to adapt because...

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