Fogo Island Evokes Ireland on the Canadian Atlantic Coast

A singular place near Newfoundland, where Irish accents can be found without crossing an ocean

house on Fogo Island
The stark landscape of Fogo Island.
Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/Creative Commons

Travel just south of the island of Newfoundland and you’ll find yourself in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, a small French territory that happens to be located in the midst of eastern Canada. It’s drawn attention over the years for some of its distinctive qualities — if you’ve ever wanted to visit a small French town without actually crossing the Atlantic, there’s a relatively easy way to do that.

But it’s also not the only island in the vicinity that calls to mind a European country. On the opposite site of Newfoundland is Fogo Island, where many of the residents’ accents evoke Ireland — to the point where Irish citizens themselves have been taken aback. A new BBC article ventures into Fogo Island’s unique history and distinctive landscape.

To start with, there’s the accent. The Irish first came in the 18th century due to the quality of the fishing there; then they settled in and formed a relatively isolated community — hence the preservation of the accents. The heyday of the fishing industry came to an end in the 1990s, which caused some residents of Fogo Island to move elsewhere.

The distinctive landscape has kept a hold on many residents, and the presence of the Fogo Island Inn, which opened in 2013, has also made the island a tourist destination for many. The town of Tilting was declared a Canadian National Historic Site in 2003 as well, and the region has maintained close ties with Ireland. It’s a unique part of the world, and it’s one with a distinctive way of life that seems determined to endure.


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