Scientists Confirm Bones That Washed Up On A Canadian Beach Belonged To Irish Famine Victims
Human remains that washed up on a beach in Canada have been confirmed to belong to victims of the Irish Famine.
The first set of bones, belonging to three children, were found on a Quebec beach in 2011 while the remains of another 18 people were discovered in 2016.
Scientists have now confirmed that the bones belonged to passengers aboard an 1847 boat, which sadly sank off the roast of Cap-des-Rosiers in Gaspé, Canada after setting sail from Sligo, Ireland.
After they were found, the remains were sent away to the Parks Canada offices, before being forwarded to the Montreal University for analysis.
Mathieu Côté, a resource conservation manager at Forillon National Park, told CBC: "This is like the end of the story for people who were interested in this.
"We were suspicious of where [the remains] were from, and we had a good idea where they were from, but now we have evidence that those people were from Ireland."
Côté added that due to saltwater exposure had made the old bones even more fragile, meaning carrying out an ancient DNA analysis on them was possible as they would 'start to crumble' as soon as touched.
According to the news outlet, locals in the area had previously said the beach had become a sort of mass grave to shipwreck victims, something which Côté now reckons might be true.
Isabelle Ribot, an associate professor of bioarcheology at Montreal University, told CBC: "Knowing the context and knowing there are descendants of the people who survived, it is very emotional and very sensitive.
"We are very blessed to have been able to analyze them and extract as much information as we can."
Hailing the importance of the historical discovery, Diane Lebouthillier, MP for Gaspésie-Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, said: "The tragic events of the Carricks shipwreck are a startling reminder of just how difficult the journey was for the travellers and that not everybody was lucky enough to reach their new home.
"Today's announcement is very significant for Irish families whose ancestors were Carricks passengers," she said. "This shipwreck reflects an important part of Canadian history."
The bones will now be taken to Forillon National Park and a funeral will be held in the coming weeks. With the remains being laid to rest near the Irish Memorial on Cap-des-Rosiers Beach.
Of the 180 passengers, 48 people survived and reportedly settled in the local area. So far, 87 bodies of the suspected 120-150 who died have been found.
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