A musical journey charting the stories of those who left Ulster over the course of 300 years, featuring Gemma Bradley, Mary Dillon, Gareth Dunlop, Niall Hanna, Cathal Hayden, Maurice Leyden, Neil Martin, No Oil Paintings, Eilidh Patterson, ROE and Jack Warnock.

When we look at the global extent of the Irish diaspora since C18th we of course immediately acknowledge its vast scale - some 80 million worldwide claim Irish ancestry. There can hardly be a corner of the planet that exists in which we wouldn’t find our traces, but nowhere more so than in North America, where some 36 million estimate their roots to be Irish. With these emigrants travelled their language, customs, music, faith, their “way of going”. And the mark this has all left is indelible. Emigrating communities tended to initially stay close together in their new lands, so their identities remained intact. Music and song of course played a very strong part in the lives of emigrants – songs of love and longing, of emigration, of home, of war and songs covering just about any subject the human mind can conjure up. Instrumental music too was key – fiddlers and pipers playing for dances, weddings, christenings and social gatherings of every kind. As with language, the music and song became intertwined with those of other countries, creating a whole new palette of musical colours.

‘Folk Park Live!’ gathers together some of Northern Ireland’s finest musicians to take us on a journey through music and song that charts emigration and tells us of the lives and plight, the hardships and the successes of those who left Ulster. It includes songs from home and songs written from afar about home; Scottish-influenced fiddle music and piping; Appalachian music; religious songs; bluegrass dance music and slower reflective pieces.

Music is the very heartbeat of this country and these are words and melodies that bind us. The songs are timeless, they will outlive us and be carried forever in the hearts and voices of those yet to come. The connection will never break, the spirit never fail and the light never flicker.

The Ulster American Folk Park

Embark on an epic journey across the centuries and the vast Atlantic Ocean as you discover the story of Irish emigration. Discover the world of rural Ulster that the migrants left behind, the arduous journey they endured at sea and the colonial society that they joined in America. Wander through the rural world of nineteenth century Ulster, carefully recreated in the original buildings that were moved brick-by-brick from where they once stood. Take ship aboard the Brig Union, a close replica of a genuine migrant transport. Explore the New World and the inventive solutions that new arrivals developed to answer the challenges of living on the frontier. Experience the past - watch activities such as fl ax spinning, carving and traditional cooking. Watch blacksmiths and rope makers at work or sit in on a school lesson.

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Artists: Gemma Bradley, Mary Dillon, Gareth Dunlop, Niall Hanna, Cathal Hayden, Maurice Leyden, Neil Martin, No Oil Paintings, Eilidh Patterson, ROE, Jack Warnock

Producers: Joe Lindsay and Carolyn Mathers of Snow Water

National Museums NI: Aaron Ward, Liam Corry, Richard Hurst

Camera, Editing, Branding, Post-Production: Smarts Agency

Musical Director: Neil Martin

Sound: Gerry Norman and George Sloan

Mastering: Half Bap Studios

Photography: Bradley Quinn

Website Design: Silverink

Brochure Design: Kubrix Design

‘Embrace the Place’ is a new partnership between Tourism NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, established to animate key tourism sites across the region by using the arts to tell the stories of that particular area, offering visitors something new and inspiring to enjoy.