'The Land of Hopes & Dreams' - Ulster American Folk Park
A day spent away from the studio, is a day well spent in my view. New ideas and creative ventures are always fashioned from my surroundings, so I love to travel around Ireland to places that provide me with an abundance of inspiration. At the weekend we hopped into the car and headed north to the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh. I have a passion for vernacular architecture and social history, and this was the perfect spot for such yearnings. You can begin your journey wandering through hedge-lined pathways to visit traditional Irish cottages, with plumes of silvery turf smoke billowing over the golden thatched roofs, and a kettle chirping away on the roaring fire inside.
The park focuses on the Ulster Irish who emigrated to the United States. Once you have walked around the indigenous villages, you then board the emigrant ships and enter into the new world how they would have seen it. It’s fascinating to experience how the houses dramatically shift from dark, damp stone cottages to warm wooden log houses filled with light and handmade textiles, and fields stocked with corn and pumpkins. You can imagine the sense of opportunity, renewed energy and hope the new settlers would have felt in a land abundant with so much promise. It was an insightful glimpse into the past, and well worth a stroll around.