The Ulster American Folk Park

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A Street Recreated within the Park.

The Ulster American Folk Park is an open-air living museum near Omagh in County Tyrone. The park explores the history of emigration from Ireland to America over the course of 200 years during the 18th and 19th centuries. The park features a number of original (with some transported across from America), and reproduction, buildings from the time, as well as many costumed volunteers who add life to the park. Exploring what daily life would have been like for those 2 million Irish people who emigrated over the period, how their lives change upon reaching America and the impact they had on their new found home.

Beginning in the Old World, the park presents the lives of those who lived in Ireland during the period of 1700 to 1900 and their motivations for emigrating across the Atlantic Ocean. This includes entire streets of original houses from the era which have been meticulously restored to their former glory. As well as houses, there is a bank, police barracks, the old Castletown National School, two churches and an original printing press. These include houses transported in their entirety from numerous parts of the country to be a part of the part. “Inhabiting” these buildings are a number of volunteers in period clothes who re-enact the day to day lives of those who once lived in these very buildings. Their performances will give you some real insight into the world was like for them at this time.

Via the Brig Union, a full-size replica of a ship that would have been used by immigrants at the time, the park moves on to the New World. In this area of the part, you’ll find what awaited those who arrived in America or what some of the immigrants went on to build like the wooden house that was the home of Richard McCallister and removed from West Virginia. This log house is not the only building relocated from the States, the park features a number of them having each been de-assembled to some extent and sailed back. This part of the park explores the new challenges these settlers faced after fleeing the ones in Ireland.

The park as a whole is a fascinating window into the past and the factors which went on to shape America and build a strong connection which still exists today. 

Self Catering in County Tyrone

Self Catering in Northern Ireland

Words by John Temke

© 2017 - Authentic Northern Ireland

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