As I make my way through the archives of the United Irish Societies of Montreal the notion that the organization is one of tradition is further reinforced. The March 1978 President’s Newsletter lists the trophies to be awarded that year. They are:
William C. Hickey Memorial Best All Round Unit
J.P. Feron Best Float
Frank Phillips / John Campbell Best Marching Unit
Palmar Best Military Unit
J. McMullen Best Out of Town Guest Unit
Pat’s Men’s Wear Best Juvenile Unit
P.A.C.T. Best High School Unit
Molson’s Outstanding Effort
Molson’s Best Band
Past Presidents Best Guest Unit
Bishop Leonard Crowley Best Pipe Band
John J. Kenny Memorial Most Authentic Irish Unit
The oldest trophy in service is the original one, The William C. Hickey Memorial, named after a former Parade Director, Historian, and Charter Member of this organization. In 1978 it was awarded for the Best All Round Unit. Today, it is awarded for the Best Celtic Dancing Unit.
While the organization is one of tradition, it also adapts. Today there are some 20 trophies and categories that you can find on our website. Take a look and see which trophies remain from 1978, which ones have been repurposed, and which ones are retired.
90 years on, The United Irish Societies of Montreal continues to adapt and succeed.
Ken Quinn, Historian
One of my colleagues on the Executive Committee recently asked me for a list of parishes that participated in the parade years ago. From the beginnings of the United Irish Societies of Montreal, the Catholic Church in Montreal has played an important role in the success of Montreal’s iconic St. Patrick’s Parade. Although our records are sparse in the early years, there is evidence that the Catholic Parishes participated. On March 22, 1929 Rev. D.J. McDougald from St. Ann’s Parish in a letter to John Loye writes “I never had the slightest apprehension of it being a failure. The floats were excellent.” On March 26, 1929 Rev. O’Brien from St. Anthony’s Parish writes “In the name of the Parish I also thank you for aiding us in perfecting the design of the floats”, which implies the Parish’s participation. Continue reading Participating Parishes in the Parade
Over the weekend I collected the Historian’s files from my good friend Don Pidgeon, who did a fantastic job maintaining and augmenting our archives from 1991 to the present. There are letters, photos, documents, newspaper clippings, and more dating back as far as 1929. I even found a letter of condolence written by John Loye to my great aunt Elizabeth O’Brien on the occasion of the death in 1947 of my great uncle Patrick Quinn, who was the organization’s treasurer and 1946 Grand Marshal.
There are so many documents and other items of historical significance I think I am going to build a little database to document precisely what we have. It will eventually make life easier when searching for information, that’s for sure, and will help us inventory precisely what we have.
Ken Quinn, Historian