This vibrant biography of Griffintown, an inner-city Montreal neighbourhood, brings to life the history of Irish identity in the legendary enclave. As Irish immigration dwindled by the late nineteenth century, Irish culture in the city became diasporic, reflecting an imagined homeland. Focusing on the power of memory to shape community, Matthew Barlow finds that, despite sociopolitical pressures and a declining population, the spirit of this ethnic quarter was nurtured by the men and women who grew up there. Today, as Griffintown attracts renewed interest from developers, this textured analysis reveals how public memory defines our urban centres.
Matthew Barlow teaches at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.