The most successful of Northern Ireland’s American-heritage projects is the Ulster American Folk Park, three miles north of Omagh in Camphill. The first significant emigration from Ireland to North America was that of Ulster folk in the early eighteenth century, many of whom were of Scottish Protestant origin. Of all the immigrant communities in the United States, it was the Irish who most quickly – and profoundly – made their mark: the three first-generation US presidents of Irish origin were all of Ulster stock, and thirteen overall could trace their roots to here. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries thousands of people left to establish new lives in North America, a steady flow of emigrants that became a torrent during the Famine years.

You can find detailed information on the causes and patterns of migration in the folk park’s indoor gallery, which surprisingly pays little attention to the Native Americans dispossessed by the Ulster settlers, but the real attractions lie outside in the park itself, where original buildings have been transplanted or replicas constructed to provide a sense of Ulster life in the past. The disparity in living conditions in nineteenth-century Ireland is illustrated by the juxtaposition of a typical pre-Famine single-room cabin from the Sperrins, with the Mellon Homestead, a significantly more substantial dwelling from which the local Mellon family migrated in 1818. A recreated Ulster street, including the impressively authentic Reilly’s Spirit Grocers, whose shelves are packed with appropriate period stock, leads to the Union, a full-sized brig, reconstructed to demonstrate the gruelling conditions endured during the voyage across the Atlantic. An American street leads to edifices constructed by the Pennsylvanian settlers, including a massive six-roomed log farmhouse. There are plenty of other buildings, and you’ll meet costumed guides and craftworkers ready to explain their activities and answer questions, augmenting the folk park’s attention to authenticity. One event of note here is the annual Bluegrass Festival over the first weekend in September.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Ireland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

6 of the best road trips in the UK

6 of the best road trips in the UK

There is something about a road trip that creates an endless state of heightened excitement. It comes with a heart-in-mouth, funfair-like thrill. And no matter …

21 May 2018 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
8 great alternative UK city breaks

8 great alternative UK city breaks

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff… These are the usual suspects when visitors are thinking about UK city breaks. But there are actually 66 other cities to be explore…

23 Apr 2018 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
9 quirky British islands to explore

9 quirky British islands to explore

Just a fraction of Britain’s more than 6000 islands are accessible – and even fewer are inhabited. If you’re dreaming of life, or just a holiday, on a rem…

04 Apr 2018 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right