Festival of Saint Patrick Dinner 2018

Join us as we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with an elegant and spirited evening on Saturday, March 17 at the Marriott Harbourfront Hotel. You won’t want to miss this year’s signature event as we have a very special guest speaker! 

We are honoured and very excited to be hosting Mary McAleese, Former President of Ireland (1997-2011), as this year’s keynote speaker and Service Award recipient. Dr. McAleese served as the President of Ireland, and was re-elected, unopposed, for her second term in office. The theme of her presidency, ‘Building Bridges,’ focused on reconciliation, justice and social inclusion. Dr. McAleese is a formidable and accomplished woman and politician, and we are privileged to have her as our guest speaker this year.

Additionally, this year’s dinner is noteworthy as we have a second Service Award recipient, Father Albert Cosgrove. Father Cosgrove is celebrating his 50th year of priesthood and while he would be too modest to say, one could certainly ascribe a theme to his 50 years in the priesthood as ‘kindness and respect’ – values he holds dear and which have served as the foundation in his service to the community.

Attendees will enjoy a tempting three-course menu and be treated to a host of top-class Celtic performances by some of the region’s most talented artists.  

Time: Reception 6:30 p.m.
            Dinner 7:30 p.m.

Location: Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, 1919 Upper Water Street, Halifax

Dress: Black Tie/Dark Business Suit

Deadline for ticket purchase: Tuesday, March 13

All are welcome to attend. Tickets are $80 each. Tables of eight are $640. Click here to purchase your ticket to this hallmark event securely online via PayPal.

Special hotel rates are available for guests at the Marriott Harbourfront coming to the dinner. The cut-off date for booking is February 23.

Dietary restrictions should be made known at time of ticket purchase.

CIS Holiday Gathering with stories, song and cheer – November 29, 2017

Join us as we celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with a cozy evening of Irish storytelling with special guest John Prendergast. Originally from Trá Lí, County Kerry, Ireland, John is the Ireland Canada University Foundation Irish Language Scholar at the Irish Studies Department at Saint Mary’s University. He is sure to delight attendees with his charming tales rooted in Celtic heritage.

Traditional Irish tunes, and a few festive ones too, with the talented Décota McNamara and Jeremy Finney will complement the warmth of the season.

And in the spirit of the holidays – the more the merrier! Bring your friends and family, and encourage them to get involved with the CIS.

All in all, catch up with familiar folks, make new friends and enjoy stories, music, light fare and the bliss that this merry time of year brings!

Event details
Date: Wednesday, November 29
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: An Seanchai, The Old Triangle 
Light refreshments will be served.

 This event is free of charge and all entertainment is courtesy of the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax.


WHERE:  Commons Room (downstairs), Atlantica Hotel

WHEN:  6:00 PM, Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cash bar; light fare

GUEST SPEAKER:  Prof. Jerry White; topic will be possible impact BREXIT may have in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

Prof. White is Canada Research Chair in European Studies at Dalhousie University, an adjunct professor of Irish Studies at Saint Mary’s University and former editor of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies.


Once again, we’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with an elegant black-tie evening on Friday, March 17 at the Marriott Harbourfront Hotel – and you won’t want to miss it. And what an event we’ve planned for you! You’ll enjoy a superb meal and top-flight entertainment, featuring the Nova Scotia Irish Dancers, under the direction of Zeph Caissie, and live traditional music by Tatter Jack (Jeremy Finney and Décota McNamara).

We’re delighted to welcome Professor John Prendergast of Saint Mary’s University, this year’s Ireland Canada University Foundation Irish Language Scholar, as our guest speaker, and will be honouring Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, with our Service Award. 

Time: 6 p.m. – Reception, 7 p.m.  – Dinner

Location: Nova Scotia Ballroom (upstairs)

Deadline for ticket purchase: Noon, Monday, March 13

Tickets are $75 each or $600 for a table of eight. Reserve your space today (and pay in advance, if you’d like) by contacting the website



Rosemary scones & Irish soda bread

Appetizer: Potato leek soup with smoked bacon

Main course: Guinness braised short rib, served with Irish champ, parsnip puree and roasted Brussels sprouts

Dessert: Bonoffee

Look forward to seeing you on March 17!


The 2017 Saint Patrick's Day Parade took place on Sunday, March 12, 2017. Despite the extreme cold the parade was well attended.

ROUTE: Starts at Pier 20 on Terminal Road. along Lower Water Street, through Irishtown, to finish with celebration at the Lower Deck Waterfront. Marshalling at 12:30 pm

Two return tickets from Halifax to Dublin or Paris were donated by ASL Airlines as prizes.

Tickets were $5 each; 3 for $10; 7 for $20. The draw date was March 17, 2017.

Click picture to enlarge.

Saint Patrick's Day Festival Proclamation
by Mayor Mike Savage


On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 1479 Lower Water Street, Halifax, members were invited to attend the unveiling of a sign officially recognizing Irishtown.  Irish Ambassador to Canada Ray Bassett and Mayor Mike Savage did the unveiling.  Irishtown included the waterfront district along Lower Water Street and up the hill to Barrington Street. Following the ceremony, there was a short, guided walk of the area that is identifited by new “Historic Irishtown” blades above street signs.  That evening there was a “Meet & Greet” for members with Ambassador Bassett.

Irish Ambassador Visits Halifax

In recognition of our 225th Anniversary, Ireland’s newly-appointed ambassador to Canada, Ray Bassett, visited Halifax this spring. He attended the Society’s AGM and spoke about his work history and his excitement at being here in Canada. While he was in Halifax, he was guest speaker at the Holy Cross Restoration fundraising dinner, a 225th Anniversary event. He met with business and political leaders and visited Irish historic sites including our Celtic Cross. He’s shown with our president Brian Downie.

Charitable Irish Society Celebration of 225 Years of Irish Culture and Heritage in Halifax at Archives

For Immediate Release

Halifax (January 13, 2011) – On January 17, 1786 a small group of individuals met at the Golden Ball Inn of Halifax, to draw up the first Articles of the Association known as The Charitable Irish Society of Halifax. A month later the first meeting was held to elect a slate of officers.M embers of the society will once again meet on a January 17, but this time to “kick-off” a year-long 225th anniversary celebration of Irish culture and heritage in Halifax. The meeting was hosted at Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management (NSARM) where a new virtual exhibit titled The Charitable Irish Society of Halifax was launched. NSARM is located on University Avenue.

The virtual exhibit draws from minute-books, petitions and letters, photographs, print material and memorabilia to showcase the Society’s activities and interests across its history. Nearly 100 items are featured and include photographs of parades and a gallery of presidents from over the years. Two background articles provide additional information on the long life of the institution.

Jim Connolly, President of the Society said, “ We are excited about this special anniversary celebration and being part of NSARM’s special effort to show how much we have been part of Halifax’s history.”

The evening started with a demonstration of the virtual exhibit followed by the Society’s quarterly meeting and reception. The general public was invited.

“We are planning a number events and activities throughout the year, most happening on the 17th of the month,” explained Mr. Connolly. “On February 17th to celebrate the first official meeting of the Society, we have scheduled a gathering at the Old Triangle the former home of the Novascotian newspaper. Its founder Joe Howe was a past president of our organization.”

Other activities included the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade, the Festival of Saint Patrick Dinner on March 17th, banners on the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge, a special flower bed in The Public Gardens, concerts and the list goes on.

You can visit The Charitable Irish Society of Halifax virtual exhibit online at www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/cis/

For Further Information:

Patrick Brownlow

Communications, Charitable Irish Society of Halifax

(902) 430-7227


225th Anniversary Events

New design for all components of our communications. (above)

January 17—On January 17, 1786, a number of Irish men living in Halifax held a meeting and signed Articles of Association which became The Charitable Irish Society.  This year another group met again to observe what those individuals may have envisioned 225 years earlier.  Through the generosity of Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management (NSARM), a virtual exhibit titled “The Charitable Irish Society of Halifax” was unveiled.  It draws from minute books, petitions and letters, photographs, print material and memorabilia to showcase the Society’s activities and interests across our history. Click this link to view a Virtual Tour of Irish History in Halifax

February 17—Executive met in The Snug, The Old Triangle, cr. Prince & Bedford Row to celebrate the anniversary of the first regular meeting of the Society in 1786.  Members were invited to join them for a social event.  This historic building was the former home of the Novascotian newspaper owned by Joseph Howe who reported on debates in the NS House of Assembly.  He was a former Premier, Lieutenant Governor and Past President of the Society.

CIS Billboard

CIS Billboard on Barrington Street

February/March—Charitable Irish Society a billboard was placed on north Barrington Street.

March 3—Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery hosted a special reception and exhibition of selections from the Aileen Meagher Collection of Irish High Cross Rubbings.  This special preview exhibition presented a sample of the works in the collection.

March 12—Members of the Charitable Irish Society participated in the 4th Annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade sponsored by Saint Patrick’s Church Restoration Society.

charitable irish society of halifax Banner

CIS Banner on the Angus L. Macdonald bridge

March 17—Annual dinner celebrating the Festival of Saint Patrick   Guest speaker was popular CTV News Anchor Steve Murphy.  A Special 225th Anniversary Award was presented to members of the Donahoe family for generations of involvement and commitment to the Society.  To commemorate the occasion each guest received a 225th lapel pin and a crystal whiskey tumbler.

April/May—12 Charitable Irish banners were flying on the Angus L. Macdonald bridge.

May 9—Leader of the Opposition Stephen McNeil presented a Resolution in the Nova Scotia Legislature on behalf of the Charitable Irish Society.

It received unanimous consent.

Annual General Meeting Irish dancers

Annual General Meeting Irish dancers


May 17—Annual General Meeting of the Society was held.   Guest speaker was John Woods, VP, Energy, Minas Basin Pulp & Power.  His topic was renewable energy in Atlantic Canada.  The emphasis was on Fundy tidal energy and projects in Ireland were highlighted.  Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada, Ray Bassett, was a special guest.



62nd Annual Maritime Fiddle Festival

62nd Annual Maritime Fiddle Festival

.July 8 & 9—62nd Annual Maritime Fiddle Festival featured some of the top names in Irish fiddling on opening night.  Among the artists were Kevin Burke, one of the greatest living Celtic fiddlers (New York Times); Brian Conway, a premier Irish-American sligo-style fiddler, called one of the best fiddlers of his generation; Matt McGranahan, one of the leading fiddle players in Ireland and many more.  CIS VP & Cultural Affairs Chair, Brian Doherty, was MC for the Irish concert.

Halifax Public Gardens Display for the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax

Halifax Public Gardens Display for CIS Halifax



All summer—Halifax Public Gardens has planted a carpet bed displaying our logo
in celebration of our 225th Anniversary.


Ardyth Jennifer in concert

Ardyth Jennifer in concert at Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel in Holy Cross Cemetery


August 31—Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel in Holy Cross Cemetery was built on August 31, 1843.  In honour of this occasion, there was a private concert, 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm, by Ardyth and Jennifer.  Ardyth and Jennifer are singers, songwriters and harp players.

September 17—The September quarterly meeting was a picnic at Uniacke Estate Museum Park.  This is the country home of former Attorney General Richard John Uniacke who was born in Ireland. He is the acknowledged founder of the Charitable Irish Society.


Remembrance Day Wreath 2011

Remembrance Day Wreath 2011




November 11—President Brian Downie participated in the Remembrance Day ceremony at Grand Parade, Halifax by laying a wreath.




.Fall—Walking tour map of Irish sites in downtown Halifax is being designed.


Three-panel colour folder will be written, designed and printed.  This folder will raise awareness and be given to new members.

Constitution and By-Laws of the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax (the green book) will be revised.

Former President of Ireland Receives Honorary Membership

Terence R B Donahoe, QC. LLD, then-President of the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax, presented an honorary membership in our Society to Dr Mary Robinson, the first woman president of Ireland, on June 5th 2003, at Saint Mary’s University, which conferred an Honorary Doctor of Civil Laws degree on her.Mr Donahoe remarked how there has been a longstanding relationship between our Society and the university, and how a close working relationship between the two has strengthened and sustained Irish culture and heritage in our area. He cited a number of the many contributions that the Irish have made in the fields of law, politics, religion, education, science and the arts, especially in this region.

Dr Robinson has received many awards and recognitions for her commitment to public service. She has been Honorary President of Oxfam International and Mr Donahoe paid tribute to her efforts with Oxfam by making, on behalf of our Society, a financial contribution in her name to Oxfam.

Dr Robinson expressed her thanks to the Charitable Irish Society for the honorary membership and the donation to Oxfam. She congratulated the Society for being at the forefront of promoting and sustaining the “Irish fact” in Halifax.

Visiting Committee

The Executive of the Charitable Irish Society wishes to extend an invitation to all members who might be interested in serving on the Sick and Visiting Committee. This committee, composed of two to three Society members, maintains a connection between the Society and those members who become ill or hospitalized, and with the families of deceased members. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please let us  know.

Saint Mary’s University

Saint Mary’s University acknowledges that in its early years, it was the strong support that it received from the Irish Community, and the Charitable Irish Society, that helped foster its early growth and development. That relationship between Saint Mary’s University and the Irish, continues today through the D’Arcy McGee Chair of Irish Studies, and also through the efforts of many of their Alumni who are very active in the affairs of the Society. Saint Mary’s Alumni who have Irish roots are most welcome to join the Society, and a special invitation is extended to them to become members.


Ireland’s former Ambassador to Canada, Declan Kelly, during a visit to Halifax, viewed the Charitable Irish Society’s Celtic Cross Memorial with Mayor Peter Kelly and members of HRM municipal council.

From left to right: Ms. Dawn Sloan, HRM Councilor, District 12; Councilor Patrick Murphy, HRM Councilor, District 11; Mr. Declan Kelly, former Ambassador of Ireland in Canada; Mr. Peter Kelly, Mayor, HRM; Mr. Bob Harvey, HRM Councilor, District 20.