Ulster American Folk Park
Lonely Planet review
In the 18th and 19th centuries thousands of Ulster people left their homes to forge a new life across the Atlantic; 200,000 emigrated in the 18th century alone. Their story is told here at one of Ireland's best museums. Last admission is 1½ hours before closing.
The Exhibition Hall explains the close connections between Ulster and the USA – the American Declaration of Independence was signed by several Ulstermen – and includes a genuine Calistoga wagon. But the real appeal of the folk park is the outdoor museum , where the 'living history' exhibits are split into Old World and New World areas, cleverly linked by passing through a mock-up of an emigrant ship. Original buildings from various parts of Ulster have been dismantled and re-erected here, including a blacksmith's forge, a weaver's thatched cottage, a Presbyterian meeting house and a schoolhouse. In the 'American' section of the park you can visit a genuine 18th-century settler's stone cottage and a log house, both shipped across the Atlantic from Pennsylvania.
Costumed guides and artisans are on hand to explain the arts of spinning, weaving, candle-making and so on, and various events are held throughout the year, including re-enactments of American Civil War battles, a festival of traditional Irish music in May, American Independence Day cele brations in July, and the Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival in September. At least half a day is needed to do the place justice.
The park is 8km northwest of Omagh on the A5. Goldline bus 273 from Belfast to Derry (hourly Monday to Saturday, five on Sunday) stops in Omagh, and will stop on request at the park gates.