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Benevolent Irish Society
200th year Anniversary Celebration(April - November of 2025).

30,000+ islanders can trace their ancestry back to Ireland. Many people “from away” also have strong PEI Irish roots as many of our people left the island to find work across Canada and along the Eastern Seaboard of the USA.

Following is the list of events included in the celebration. Methods to pre-book tickets to these events will be provided at a later date closer to the event.

Proving the list of events and dates will help visitors hoping to come to the Island in the spring, summer and fall of 2025 plan to take part in our anniversary event.

Soft Launch of the 200 Year Anniversary Celebration at The Great George – Wellington Hotel in Charlottetown

April 15, 2025 at the Wellington Hotel.
➢ On April 15, 1825 the founders of the Society met at the Wellington Hotel in Charlottetown to form the Benevolent Irish Society of PEI in support of the influx of Irish people to PEI.
➢ The Society’s first Patron was the Governor of the day Irish born John Ready. The first Executive consisted of Fade Goff – President, Francis Longworth – Vice President, Rev. Alexander Thomas Fitzgerald - Treasurer, and Charles Desbrisay – Secretary.

4 headliner events with both Richard Wood Band and Kate Bevan Baker Band.

These shows are 2.5 hours of fabulous entertainment. Dates are:
Thursday August 7 – College of Piping in Summerside
Saturday August 9 – Simmons Performance Hall in Charlottetown
Tuesday August 12 – Souris Showhall
Thursday August 14 – Simmons Performance Hall in Charlottetown

2 Special Traditional Music Ceilidhs with multiple performers each event.

We will be featuring all of our most sought-after performers at these Ceilidhs. The Best Ceilidh Lunch on PEI will be served at each event and is included in admission price.

Friday August 1 – Irish Hall 8 pm – 10:30 pm
Friday August 15 – Irish Hall 8 pm – 10:30 pm

Old Home Week Events

August 7 – 14 Booth at the Old Home Week Grounds (Irish cooking demos, Irish dancing demo, Spin the Wheel, etc.)

August 15 – BIS Float in the Parade
Date to be Determined – Sponsorship of a race with a cooler blanket and some prize money

Ambassador of Ireland Reception at the Irish Hall

August 1 – Irish Hall. Reception for the Entourage of the current Irish Ambassador to Canada, including the dedication of the Katherine Hughes Monument on the front lawn. Light lunch and traditional entertainment.

Formal Gala Dinner for 300 (serving Traditional Irish Food)

August 2 – Traditional Irish Dinner (3 courses) plus a “Meet and Greet” before dinner at the Murphy’s Community Centre. Food will be catered by Chef Robert Pendergast. Music by Traditional Musicians. (Harp, Tin Whistle, Fiddle, Flute, Uilleann Pipes). Irish Ambassador
Entourage plus many local dignitaries will be in attendance.

Heritage Cultural Fair (3 days) at the Irish Hall

August 8 – 10 – Irish Hall grounds
➢ Step Dancing Demonstration
➢ Irish Lace Making demonstration
➢ Quilts for sale in the hall as well as a demonstration
➢ Irish Knitting for sale in the hall as well as a demonstration
➢ Display and Sale of books by local authors
August 4 – 10 Ancestry workshops in the Lower Foyer of the Hall
➢ Food served in the Parking Lot (Grilled Cheese on Soda Bread, Potato Bannock, Tea Biscuits and Homemade Jam, Irish Apple Cake with Cream, Potato Love, Oysters on the half shell, etc.)
➢ Fiddlers to entertain in the parking lot

Walking Tour of Charlottetown with Irish Focus

➢The walking tour can begin as early as May 1st as a self-directed tour. It can continue until the snow flies in November.
➢ August 3 – 6, 11 – 13. This is a guided tour. A tour booklet has been created by local historians with stops at many sites of significance to the Irish people of PEI (e.g., Lady Constable Memorial, Irish Settlers Monument on the waterfront, Connolly Buildings, Bourke’s Wharf..)
➢The tour will begin at the Irish Settlers Monument on the Charlottetown boardwalk.

Driving Tours of PEI (1 East, 1 West) with Irish Focus and Picnic lunches

➢ The driving tours can begin as early as May and continue until the snow flies in November. Not all the museums will be open in early summer or late fall. We are working with the PEI Museums Director on this item.
➢ These are self guided tours of sites of significance to Irish people in Kings and Prince County. As well there are several sites in Queens County included in the tours.
➢ Kings County tour (The Eastern Tour) includes such sites as Orwell Corner, Longworth Avenue Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. Patrick’s Pioneer Cemetery in Ft. Augustus, Minnie McGee’s grave in the St. Mary’s Cemetery, etc.
➢ Prince County Tour (The Western Tour) includes such sites as the International Fox Museum, Canadian Potato Museum & Antique Farm Machinery Museum, O’Brien House, etc.
➢ A tour booklet is provided for each group of travelers and a packed lunch is available for purchase for $10.00 if pre-booked.

Irish Artifacts Exhibit at Confederation Centre

➢ This Exhibit is committed between the Society and the Confederation Centre.
➢ The expectation is that this exhibit would open before June 1 and stay open possibly until October 31st.
➢ The BIS members have been collecting memorabilia associated with the trip made by our “First Settlers” to PEI from Ireland.
➢ To date a number of items identified by BIS members have been located in the Provincial Heritage Museum.
➢ Once the full list of items to be exhibited is finished, the exhibit final “themes” will be completed. The history of the BIS in the life of Islanders will be heavily represented. Local printer Dalmac have agreed to support us in this event by creating the exhibit panels.

Lecture Series (8 Local and International Scholars)


August 4 – 7 and 11 - 15 in the Irish Hall. Speakers are:

Sister City BIS sponsored Events (Souris, Emyvale/Kelly’s Cross, Emerald/Breadalbane/ Kinkora, Tignish)

➢ We are working with local community advisors to plan events, sponsored by the BIS, in Kelly’s Cross/ Emyvale, Tignish and  Emerald/Breadalbane/ Kinkora areas.
Tuesday August 12 in Souris we are planning to model the Tea Grounds Tea Parties that were popular in the 1890’s where visitors who attended these gala events travelled by train to Souris, Georgetown and Montague.

Ft. Augustus St. Patrick’s Pioneer Cemetery Tour “A Walk with the Ancestors”

August 3 (Sunday) and August 10 (Sunday) – Guided tour of the St. Patrick’s Pioneer Cemetery in Ft. Augustus where many Irish settlers are buried. The cemetery is going through a major restoration and many of the fallen stores are being righted and cleaned.
➢ Local historians have created a Tour book. Families named  Handrahan, Trainor, Cummisky, Hughes, Duffy, Murnaghan, Connolly are some of the families buried here.
➢ The tour includes a light lunch and some traditional Celtic music to accompany the lunch.

Irish Film Festival (pilot spring of 2024)

➢ We are planning to pilot this event in the late spring of 2024 and link it to the actual anniversary of the forming of the BIS at the Wellington Hotel in April of 1925. If it is well received it will become an annual event as the St. Patrick’s Play portion of the St. Patrick’s Week Festival each year.

➢ Depending on Film Lengths the likely dates and times would be Saturdays and Sundays at 4 or 4:30 pm. There will be family films and adult films on offer. After the Adult films, filmgoers will be invited to meet at the Old Dublin Pub for a discussion of the film.
➢ Details are being ironed out.

Keep an eye here for more details on ticket booking as these events firm up. As well, local accommodations set up for the event will be communicated a bit closer to the event.

Phone Mary Ellen Callaghan at 902-213-3924 or email if you have questions

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