This website was written to help Canadians understand the culture of the Irish people. You may be involved in an organized HOST program, or you may have Irish colleagues at work or Irish students at your school. Whatever the reason for your interest, this profile will tell you something about Ireland and Irish culture.

The Irish began immigrating to Canada as early as the 18th century. By the 1830s, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Upper and Lower Canada had significant Irish populations. During the great Potato Famine of the 1840s, millions of Irish left their homes. Many went to Canada, but left within a few years to settle in the United States. Most of the current Irish-Canadian communities were established before the famine. About 13% of the Canadian population is of Irish descent.

In the past, the Catholic Irish who immigrated to Canada included many low-income families. They struggled to establish themselves and their integration into Canadian society was slow. In contrast, the Protestant Irish were better off and quickly established themselves as farmers. Today, the Irish who immigrate to Canada are generally students or skilled professionals.

Although this cultural profile provides insights into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Ireland.

   Did you know?
Famous Irish-Canadians include Guy Carleton, governor of Quebec in the 18th century, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, one of the fathers of Confederation, and Timothy Eaton, founder of the T. Eaton Company.
   Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name Republic of Ireland
Capital City Dublin
Type of Government Republic
Population 3.6 million
Area 70,282 sq. km
Major Ethnic Group Irish
Languages English, Irish Gaelic
Religions Roman Catholicism, Protestantism
Unit of Currency Irish Pound
National Flag Three vertical bands of green, white and orange
Date of Independence April 18, 2022

   Did you know?
In 1998, Parks Canada unveiled a monument to Irish immigrants on Grosse Ile in the St. Lawrence River. Irish immigrants were quarantined on the island before they entered Canada. In the 1830s, thousands of Irish people died of cholera there and in the 1840s, thousands more died of typhus and were buried on the island.