Letterkenny Accommodation -
Ulster American Folk Park
Telephone: +44 (0)28 8224 3292
The Ulster American Folk Park is an open-air museum in Castletown, just
outside Omagh, in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland - 55km from
Letterkenny. The Park explores the historical link between Ulster
and America, focusing particularly on the lifestyle and experiences of
those immigrants who sailed from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th
centuries. It is one of three national museums of Northern Ireland.
Contained within the park are around thirty buildings — some
recreations, some painstakingly-restored originals. There are
agricultural displays and animals on site, and visitors are offered
samples of various local foods such as smoked salmon and bread,
freshly-cooked in the cottages that line the route of Park tours.
The park is open throughout the year, excluding some public holidays
The museum is themed, with volunteers dressed in period costume, often
demonstrating techniques used in day-to-day tasks and occupational
skills such as bread making, cooking, arts and crafts, embroidery,
spinning, printing and so on. Events are marked which cover the culture
of both the New World and the Old World, such as Independence Day and
Halloween. Festivals often take place including Saint Patrick's Day,
Appalachian, Bluegrass, Irish folk music and dancing demonstrations.
Exhibitions are often scheduled to promote cultural awareness, such as
Hands Across the Border.
The Ulster-American theme is highlighted by the layout and the
information relayed, such as the fact that over two million people left
Ulster for North America between the years 1700 and 1900.
Research and Education
The entrance section includes accommodation for up to forty-six people,
a restaurant, a visitors' information centre and the Centre for
Migration Studies (CMS). The CMS has an attached library and offers, in
conjunction with the University of Ulster and Queen's University of
Belfast, postgraduate and undergraduate courses, as well as tailored and
shorter courses; all of which concern the study of Irish migration from
1600 to the present day. The specialist research library contains some
10,000 volumes, over 50 periodicals, maps, audio-visual material, and a
collection of primary source documents (the Irish Emigration Database)
which is searchable on computer. The Centre is open to visitors during
basic office hours, and closed during public holidays.
The Old World region includes whole streets of original houses, an
original printing press, a bank, an old police barracks, the old
Castletown National School, and two churches. Central to this region is
the boyhood home of Thomas Mellon, judge and founder of the Pittsburgh
Some of the two-up, two-down houses in one of the reconstructed streets
in the Park were transported in their entirety from Sandy Row, off the
Donegall Road in Belfast, and other buildings have been transported from
elsewhere in the province.
Linking the Old and New World sections of the park is the Ship and
Dockside gallery, which includes the Brig Union, a full-size replica of
an immigrant sailing ship.
The themed atmosphere continues in the New World area, which features
log cabins from Pennsylvania and Boston, and reconstructions of everyday
scenes from the lives of newly-arrived immigrants.
ULSTER AMERICAN FOLK PARK
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