The Bottom Line
- Park explores the reasons for and impact of Irish migration to the USA.
- Original and reconstructed buildings and even an "emigrant ship" guarantee a full impression.
- Museum complex adds background information in a comprehensive, lively way.
- Staff is dressed in period costume and "live" their allocated roles.
- Reenactors occasionally frequent the park for special events.
- Larger groups of visitors can detract from the experience.
- Sizeable park recreating the experience of Ulster immigration into the USA.
- Both Ulster and North American villages reconstructed full-size, linked by an emigrant ship.
- Research facilities available.
Guide Review - Ulster American Folk Park (Omagh)
The Ulster American Folk Park a few miles outside of Omagh takes you back in time. Ulstermen were a substantial part of the Irish immigration into the USA and the museum complex explores the various reasons for this migration - which started long before the Great Famine. Adventurers and dissenters, the rich and the poor, crossed the Atlantic to pursue their individual American dream. Some with immense success - the number of Ulster-Scots signatories of the Declaration of Independence is one indicator.
The real strength of the Ulster American Folk Park, however, lies in the recreation of the actual experience of migration. Visitors are first guided through parts of an Irish village, consisting of smallholdings, cottages, churches and a blacksmith's workshop. Costumed guides are at hand and only too willing to talk and demonstrate their skills.
The park then "ends" in a city street (complete with well-stocked shops) leading down to a quay. Here a sailing ship awaits you, you board ... and when you get off again you are in America. Leaving the immigration shed you pass several American city dwellings until you are in the open countryside. Here several farmsteads are recreated with a loving eye for detail ... down to typical crops like maize and pumpkins. Taking a gigantic u-turn you are finally heading back to the museum complex.
Research facilities are available, but the occasional visitor might be more interested in the café and shop.