How to get there
Montreal is about 300 miles from Boston, roughly a 5 1/2-hour drive. Take Interstate 93 north to Concord, N.H., then pick up Interstate 89 north into Vermont, through Burlington, and north to the Canadian border, where I-89 becomes Provincial Secondary Route 133. Continue on Route 133, which becomes Autoroute 35 north, and take exit 18 onto Autoroute 10 into Montreal.
Where to stay
Hotel du Fort
1390 rue du Fort
In the middle of everything, including shopping, pubs, and Montreal's famous international dining. Rooms $135-$175; suites $175-$275. Breakfast included.
Montreal Oasis B&B
3000 rue de Breslay
A brick home with hardwood floors surrounded by gardens within walking distance of downtown. Host Lena Blondel, a multilingual world traveler and studio art student, can direct you to any city landmark. Doubles $52-$84, including three-course breakfast.
Where to eat
McKibbin's Irish Pub
1426 Bishop St.
Forgot Mary Gallagher's story? It's printed on the front of the menu, which carries the heading ''The Mary Gallagher Herald." Serves lunch and dinner. The building features a small pub on the first floor, bar and dining area on the second, and a dance floor on the third. Serves traditional Irish fare from fish 'n' chips ($7) to shepherd's pie ($7), plus daily specials including pan-fried filet of trout with lemon, leeks, and white wine ($10.20) and oven-roasted gigotin of lamb with red wine ($11). Traditional Irish bands perform at 8 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 9 Thursday, and 10 Friday- Saturday.
Claddagh Irish Pub
1433 Crescent St.
Open 11 a.m.-3 a.m.; kitchen closes at midnight weekends, 10 p.m. weekdays. The Irish flags are easy to spot on this busy commercial strip. Indoor and outdoor seating. Soups about $4, main dishes less than $9. Half pints about $3.50. Traditional Irish music jam sessions 3-6 p.m.
What to do
Old Port Ghost Tours
Tours depart Wednesday-Sunday, June 22-Aug. 28, from a ticket booth near Bonsecours Pavilion in the Old Port. Try The Old Port Ghost Hunt, New France Ghost Hunt, Montreal's Historic Crime Scenes, and the Traditional Ghost Walk. Led by bilingual, costumed reenactors. Tickets $9.60.
Gross Île National Historic Site
Canada's version of Ellis Island, Gross Île has been similarly preserved. Tours include visits to former immigrant quarters, disinfection chambers, and a hospital. A mass grave, resting place of 7,500, is marked with a 48-foot Celtic cross said to be the tallest in the world. Mid-May through mid-October; tour times and prices vary.
350 Place Royal
Glimpse Montreal history and archeology through bilingual exhibits and tours. Admission $8.90 adults; $3.20 children. Discounted family, student, and senior rates.