The North Shore Irish

Irish Settlements in Gloucester and Restigouche Counties

By David John Doyle

The two most northern counties of New Brunswick are commonly referred to as “the North Shore” and it is impossible to look at one without looking at the other as their histories are so interconnected. Restigouche and Gloucester Counties are in the northeast of the province and are bordered by the province of Québec and the Baie des Chaleurs in the north and the Gulf of St Lawrence on the eastern shores. The landscape is fairly mountainous in the north and west as the Appalachian mountains cross diagonally through this landscape. The eastern coast is rolling and more gentle along the Gulf of St Lawrence.


Restigouche and Gloucester Counties
Restigouche and Gloucester Counties

There are only a few place names that are Irish along the North shore perhaps because there are a lot of French Acadian and Scottish settlers living here. The first name that comes to mind is of course is “JACQUET RIVER”, which is named after James Augustus Doyle – the first permanent settler between the Nepisiquit (Bathurst) and Restigouche (Atholville). The name of the community should have been the ” JAMES RIVER” but since James and his family spoke French, he was known by the name JACQUES. Hence the community became “JACQUET”. In the documents of the time there was a habit of crossing the “T” with the same stroke as they wrote, which made the “S” look like a “T”.

Near Nash Creek is a village named “DOYLEVILLE” where some of James A. Doyles’ as well as my relatives settled.

Also there is a village near Eel River called “SHANNONVILLE”, where Irish families settled.

Just below Belledune there is a village now called Pointe Verte, which is now predominately French. However, originally it had been settled by the Irish and was named: “GREEN POINT”.

In upper Belledune, the area was known as “CULLIGANS” where, of course, many Culligans have lived. In lower Belledune there used to be an area called “DEMPSEY” Settlement.

Although Jacquet River is in Restigouche County and Belledune is located in Gloucester County, they were amalgamated in 1993 and the postal address for both is now Belledune. Local residents still refer to the communities by their separate names however.

Along with the first settler to Jacquet River, James A. Doyle and his family, his brother, John Doyle and his wife, Ellen Shee, and their five sons and one daughter came to the this area as well. Also another family of Doyle cousins settled in the before mentioned Doyleville.

The first Catholic church in Belledune was a log chapel opened in 1830 and was named “St. Patrick”, however, in 1869, the church was renamed “St. John the Evangelist” because there was another church named “St. Patrick”. So, what was the problem with two?

After the devastating “MIRAMICHI FIRE” of October 7,1825, many Irish families moved away from the Miramichi area and came to the North Shore and most of them settled in the Jacquet River and Belledune area.

The following is a list of the Irish family names, which have existed and/or now exist in this area. The family names of those who moved here from the Miramichi after the Great Miramichi Fire of 1825 have been made bold. The North Shore Irish names are :

Abbott, Ahern, Anderson, Annett, Bannon, Barry, Berrigan, Blake, Boyle, Brown, BrennanBulgar, Connell, Culligan, CurryDaley, Daly, Dalley, Darling, Devereaux, Dempsey, Doherty, Donnelly, Dowling, Doyle, Duffy, Carroll, Eddy, Egan, Ellis, Fitzpatrick, Flanagan, Foley, Furlong, Grennan, Haggerty, Hare, Healy, Hickey, Hodgins, Killoran, Kelly, Kealty, Kennedy, Lawlor, Loane, Lovett, Maloughney, Mallaley, McCarthy, McCarron, McDonnell, McGovern, McGrath, McMahon, Meade, Moriarty, O’Brien, O’Neil, O’Leary, O’Sullivan, QuinnReagan, Rotherty, Ryan, Salter, Scully,Shea, Sheehan, Shannon, Smith, TalbotUltican, Vaughn, Wall, and Ward.

There are, no doubt, many more Irish names that I have not included here. Also, the Campbellton – Dalhousie area has many Irish names. There are also many French, Scottish and English families who also have Irish ancestors.


______,1851 Census, Gloucester County, New Brunswick, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

______,1851 Census, Restigouche County, New Brunswick, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

______, Land grant maps, Gloucester County and Restigouche County, Dep’t of Natural Resources, Province of New Brunswick

______, Index of Passenger Lists, Immigration Records F9798, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.