Eileen Reid Marcil honoured by Irish Heritage Quebec

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Photo: Shirley Nadeau

John O’Connor (left) and Joe Lonergan (right) presented Eileen Reid Marcil with a plaque that read “Presented … by Irish Heritage Quebec in deep appreciation and recognition of your research and the excellence of your books on shipbuilding and other trades in Quebec City and Lévis.”

Following the annual meeting of Irish Heritage Quebec in McMahon Hall of St. Patrick’s Church on Dec. 10., president Joe Lonergan and secretary-treasurer John O’Connor honoured Eileen Reid Marcil, who has spent a lifetime recording the history of shipbuilding in Quebec City. Irish Heritage Quebec chose to recognize Marcil at this time as she would be moving to Montreal the day after the meeting.

O’Connor, who said he has known Marcil for some 50 years, related that she came to Canada from England as a war bride after marrying George Marcil. After living in other parts of Canada for some years, the couple moved to Quebec City in 1954. It was about 1970 that she became interested in the history of shipbuilding. After presenting it as her doctoral thesis at Université Laval, she had her first book The Charley-Man: A History of Wooden Shipbuilding at Quebec, 1763-1893 published in 1995. In 1997, her second book, Tall Ships and Tankers: The History of the Davies Shipbuilders, was published. A French translation of the book, Au Rythme des Marées, was published in 2000.

Other books Marcil has written include: L’héritage d’Elizabeth Davie (who ran Davie Shipyards after her husband Allison Davie’s death); L’oeuvre de Narcisse Rosa, La hache et la plume; Le trois-mâts Tea Taster et le rêve d'Edmund Willoughby Sewell; L’extraordinaire exploit de Charles Wood; Le Columbus et le Baron of Renfrew, deux grands navires-radeaux de bois; Un cadeau singulier à Ringfield and Les tonneliers au Québec du XVIIe au XXe siècle, which concern the shipbuilding industry in Quebec City and Lévis.

O’Connor spoke about how Marcil had been the driving force behind the recognition of the A.C. Davie Shipyard as a National Historic Site in 1990. She was also responsible for acquiring the large model of the wooden sailing ship Royal William; the ship was later donated to the Morrin Centre.