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    Songs of the Settlers.

    It’s well known that Irish people love to travel. The Irish diaspora, whether they left by choice or necessity, can be found in every corner of the World, but nowhere more so than in North America, where some 36 million estimate their roots to be Irish. These Irish emigrants brought their language, traditions, customs, music, dancing, faith and songs with them on their travels. And this has left a memorable mark worldwide, capturing and sharing the lives, loves and losses of countless generations.

    Songs of the Settlers

    Discover “the Songs of the Settlers” and the rich cultural treasures of one of Northern Ireland’s finest open-air museums, the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh County Tyrone, and follow a musical journey charting the stories of those who left Ulster over the course of 300 years.

    Watch ‘Folk Park Live – The Songs of the Settlers’ , which gathers together some of Northern Ireland’s finest musicians to take you on a journey through music and song and tells of the lives and plight, the hardships and the successes of those who emigrated and left Ulster.

    Ulster American Folk Park – Neil Martin © Folk Park Live 

    Comprising 11 performances filmed at locations around the Ulster American Folk Park in County Tyrone, the artwork creates a unique tour of the museum. Under the direction of internationally recognized composer, producer and TV presenter Neil Martin, some of Northern Ireland’s best traditional and contemporary musicians tell of the emigrants’ lives, loves, plights and hardships at home and in the New World.

    Neil Martin himself, and artists including Gemma Bradley, Roe, Mary Dillon, Cathal Hayden, Niall Hanna, Eilidh Patterson, Maurice Leyden, No Oil Paintings, Gareth Dunlop and Jack Warnock cover “the Songs of the Settlers” which range from Scottish-influenced fiddle and uillean piping music, to Appalachian mountain music and traditional and religious songs, bluegrass dance music and slower reflective pieces. The songs are timeless and will be carried forever in the voices, the hearts and the spirits of generations yet to come.

    Gareth Dunlop – Shenandoah

    From the Tennessee Rogan Plantation House at the Ulster American Folk Park see Gareth Dunlop sing “Shenandoah” – Shenandoah is one of the most beguiling songs in the north American tradition. In the early days of north America’s life, rivers were a very essential part of trading routes, and the boatmen and trappers who plied their trades were well-known as singers – it’s a global phenomenon, singing when working, lessening the chore. Some sources suggest the song is based around a trader falling in love with the daughter of the famed Indian Chief, Shenandoah, after whom the river, city and by association university have been named. Whatever its truth, this shanty has found its way into the hearts of people right across the world.

    Ulster American Folk Park – Gareth Dunlop © Folk Park Live

    The Ulster American Folk Park, County Tyrone. 

    The Ulster American Folk Park in County Tyrone, tells the remarkable story of the vast human tide that crossed the Atlantic for the New World of North America and it brings to life the reality behind three centuries of Irish emigration. The journey starts in the thatched cottages of Ulster, including the famous “Mellon” homestead. The indoor exhibition at the Ulster American Folk Park examines life in Ulster in the 18th and 19th centuries and reveals the reasons behind the exodus.

    The museum recreates a time when local crafts and tradespeople played a vital part in manufacturing and delivering the goods and services that were needed. Experience the past – watch activities such as flax spinning, quilting, basket making, carving and traditional cooking and see blacksmiths and rope makers at work.

    Embark on the Brig Union, a close replica of a genuine crowded sailing ship and experience the conditions that many thousands of emigrants experienced during the arduous Atlantic crossing, finishing the tour among the homesteads of the American frontier, where you can see how the settlers adapted to, and impacted on, a new and unfamiliar environment.

    Ulster American Folk Park, County Tyrone ©

    Embrace the Irish Spirit. 

    Embrace the Irish Spirit and plan a musical journey of Ireland with Specialized Travel Services. Music and song played a very strong part in the lives of emigrants – songs of love and longing, of emigration, of home and of war – and still embodies the spirit of the people of Ireland.

    For a musical road trip of a lifetime and to experience the warm and welcoming atmosphere that surrounds the Island of Ireland, contact Specialized Travel Services by filling in the Contact form Or by email:

    Ulster American Folk Park – No-oil-paintings © Folk Park Live


    Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is of the Ulster American Folk Park County Tyrone ©

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      Photo Gallery

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      Ulster American Folk Park, Co. Tyrone. Photographer Brian Morrison © Tourism Northern Ireland
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      Ulster American Folk Park - Eilidh Patterson © Folk Park Live
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      Ulster American Folk Park - Gemma Bradley © Folk Park Live
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      Ulster American Folk Park © Visit Belfast
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      Ulster American Folk Park - Cathal Hayden © Folk Park Live


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