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Virtual tour of Griffintown showcases Montreal’s early Irish history

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Virtual Griffintown of showcases Montreal’s Irish history
WATCH ABOVE: How much do you know about Montreal's Irish history? A virtual tour spotlights a neighbourhood built by Irish immigrants in Montreal. Global's Billy Shields reports – Mar 16, 2017

A virtual tour of Griffintown has recently gone online, delving into the history of one of Montreal’s most iconic — and quickly disappearing — working-class Irish neighbourhoods.

It’s the brainchild of Scott MacLeod, a former Concordia University graduate student who spent about eight months putting the site together from interviews and films he created.

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READ MORE: Griffintown’s oldest house is on the move

Most of the locations in MacLeod’s tour have a strong connection to Irish immigrants, who built the neighbourhood in the wake of the potato famine.

At the Horse Palace on Ottawa Street, MacLeod pointed to a condo construction surrounding the old stable and palace, now converted into a home.

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READ MORE: Montreal planning a Griffintown makeover

“We’ve kept those vestiges, but at the same time, we’re seeing changes with the condominiums,” he noted.

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Looking at the videos that accompany the tour, there’s a lot of colourful history in Griffintown that seems anachronistic in the wave of gentrification sweeping the neighbourhood now.

One of the most colourful anecdotes involves the “Ghost of Griffintown,” Mary Gallagher, who was beheaded.

READ MORE: Ottawa artist pays tribute to Florida Highwaymen at Griffintown gallery

MacLeod says Gallagher’s ghost supposedly returns to the area every seven years, and is due back next year.

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More than 20 sites are on the tour, including the iconic place Farine Five Roses.

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