2016-08-24 09 30 03-Page 2 IslandNewspapers

The Picnic at Groshaut took place on the grounds of the St. Charles church (Ives, Edward D. Drive Dull Care Away: Folksongs from Prince Edward Island (178)) in 1897 or 1898 (Exile and Islanders: The Irish Settlers of Prince Edward Island. O'Grady, Brendan. 110)

In Drive Dull Care Away: Folksongs from Prince Edward Island, Sandy Ives wrote, “This is one of those local songs you have to know something about ahead of time before it makes much sense, and the singing of it will almost always lead to comment on what really happened. In brief, then, outdoor ‘tea parties’ or picnics were common [Prince Edward] Island fund-raising events a hundred years ago, and great effort went into the preparations. There were booths for games, rides for children, and women set up tables where they politely hawked their specialties (floating island, chocolate cakes, whatever), while over it all was the constant sound of fiddle and pipe – sometimes even a band or two. Strong drink was ritually forbidden, but it could usually be found, if not on the grounds at least conveniently close by off them. Father Walker felt he could solve that problem by providing plenty of cider, and he managed to purchase a supply at a bargain rate.

The great day dawned lowery, but preparations went ahead until the rain came and forced postponement until the next day. But those who were there thought it too bad not to have a glass of cider before going home, so they broached a keg, only to discover that a wonderful mistake had been made. Father Walker’s bargain turned out to be hard cider! Soon the rain moved off, people began arriving, and it wasn’t long before the good Father had a real donnybrook on his hands. After it was all over and everyone had been sent home, he carefully and heavily watered what remained in the kegs, and the next day everything was sober and uneventful.”

The Picnic at Groshaut was later made popular in a folk song by Lawrence Doyle. Lawrence Doyle was a parishioner of St. Charles church.

Art Cahill had been in attendance at the picnic.