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Ulster American Folk Park Trip

At the crack of dawn (in the eyes of Year 7), the class departed Clough to embark on their voyage of discovery of Ireland in the 1800s and journey across the Atlantic Ocean to a new life in North America.


On our arrival, Year 7 had their break before engaging in an active ‘Famine Workshop’.  Our tour guides took us to a typical tenant farmhouse, it was a small one room thatched cottage which could have held up to 12 people.  The cottage had two small windows, a fire with a chimney and one bed where up to four people would have slept.  If you were unfortunate to secure a place in the bed, you either had to sleep on the floor in front of the fire or sleep with the resident pig in the room!  Just imagine the smell, though it was a popular choice as the pig kept you warm. 

In this multi-purpose room, we found out how the fire was used as a cooker, with a large chain being used to turn the temperature up and down depending on how close the pot was placed near the fire.


Next, we visited the National School House and got to sit at tables where children once sat.  Did you know? In the 1800s, not all children were required to go to school, often the children of poor people did not go to school.  Any child, who was fortunate to attend school meant they had an increased chance of having a better life due to having an education. 

Everybody was given a card with details of a real life person from the 1840’s.  We worked together in groups deciding who should earn a ticket for the emigration ship.  After much deliberation, passengers were selected depending on their skills, age and wealth!


The class made their way to the ‘Union Famine Ship’ located on the quayside. Often emigrants would have to wait for a ship to depart, this could take anything from days to weeks.  Passengers would have stayed in lodgings near the dock or sleep outside to save money.


When passengers boarded the ship, they were squashed below deck, with up to four people sleeping in one bunk.  The toilet was a bucket, just imagine the smell!  Depending on the weather, passengers were only allowed on deck around an hour a day.  Conditions below deck were dire, passengers would have spent most of their day in the dark as it was too dangerous to keep light on as it could have started a fire.  Due to many people being crammed into a small space, disease would quickly spread with 1 in 4 people dying and sometimes nearly half of the passengers.  An average journey would have taken anything from 6 to 13 weeks, depending on the wind.  

On arrival in the ‘New World’, passengers were quarantined for two weeks before they could start their new life.  When we entered the streets of North America, life was very different.  In the general store, emigrants were introduced to new foods like corn on the cob, turkey, pumpkins and coffee beans.  People were able to buy a wide range of products from food to feather dusters.


As we travelled through the new world, we visited homes which were of a much higher standard than homes in Ireland.  A popular choice for a new home was a log cabin, which had an upstairs and downstairs with many rooms, life was definitely much better in America.  Emigrants would use their skills to build an new life and succeed.


Year 7 enjoyed their trip to the Ulster American Folk Park, where they were able to experience life in Ireland and North America.  It was lovely to see the children asking the experts many interesting questions enabling them to explore the causes and effects of the famine in great depth.  Have a look at our photos and find out what you missed!


North American Music

We have been exploring the wide variety of music genres in North America.  In lessons, we have been enjoying listening to the different music types and artists.  We still haven’t decided which our favourite one is yet!  Lessons have been fun and it has been great to find out about different musical styles such as gospel, rock n roll, jazz, pop etc.  In fact, other classes in school think we are having a party in Year 7!




Mrs Shilliday, Addie’s mum, is from Canada and made the class videos to tell them about Canada.  Mrs Shilliday had originally planned to come into the school, however, she has recently started a new job which meant we couldn’t find a convenient time for her to visit due to work commitments.  However, we were so appreciative of Mrs Shilliday for taking the time to make the videos and send in objects from Canada.  Addie did a great job of being the teacher during this session!


The class absolutely loved this lesson and found out so much about Canada, from how cold it can get in the winter to the popular sported ice hockey.  The class are also told about the First Nation people and got to hold some items which they make to earn a living.

It was interesting how Canadian people do hunt and how it is controlled as one deer will be enough for a family.

The class also got to learn about the loonies and hear their call.


A huge thank you to Mrs Shilliday and Addie, Year 7 now know a lot about Canada! 🇨🇦 🍁