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Free Booklet on the Material Culture of the Donegal Diaspora

 

Photo 1 (Booklet Cover)

Cover of the ‘Material Culture of Donegal Communities Abroad’ booklet produced by the County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council as part of the County Donegal Heritage Plan.

 

The County Donegal Heritage Office and the County Donegal Heritage Forum in partnership with The Heritage Council has produced a free booklet on selected historical migration patterns from Donegal and the items that Donegal people took with them when they left.  The free booklet entitled ‘Material Culture of Donegal Communities Abroad’ will be launched as part of the Donegal-Irish Diaspora Conference at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology on Thursday, May 19 at 3:30 p.m. 

 

Photo 2 (American Wake)

Pictured outside the home of impending emigrant Paddy Herron after a night’s playing at an ‘American Wake’ in Garvan, Commeen, Glenfin in 1933 are (from left to right): John Doherty, Mickey Mór Doherty, Mickey Doherty & Paddy Herron (Image courtesy of Jimmy Gallagher).

 

The 32-page, A5-size booklet is the second in the 'Donegal Heritage Series' produced by the County Donegal Heritage Office as part of the by the County Donegal Heritage Plan and includes the following narrative accounts:

 

  • 'Barrel or Suitcase: Towards a Material Culture of Irish Emigration' by Dr. Fidelma Mullane who considers the possessions and provisions that Donegal emigrants took with them when they went to America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The research draws upon the 1955 questionnaire on Irish emigration to America devised by Arnold Schrier in collaboration with the Irish Folklore Commission.  Dr. Fidelma Mullane is a cultural geographer and outgoing Board Member of The Heritage Council.

 

  • 'Emigrant Irish Farming Implements & Practices' by Dr. Jonathan Bell & Mr. Mervyn Watson who investigate the agricultural implements and ideas that seasonal migrants from Donegal took with them when they went to Scotland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Agricultural historians Dr. Jonathan Bell & Mervyn Watson are former curators at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum in Cultra, County Down.

 

  • 'The Donegal Fiddle' by Dr. Caoimhín Mac Aoidh recounts the story of renowned-Donegal fiddler Danny Meehan in England and Wales in the mid-twentieth century.  Dr. Caoimhín Mac Aoidh is a musician, Irish music scholar and former Chief Executive of Donegal Local Development Company.

 

  • 'The Material Culture of Donegal and its Diaspora reflected in Migrant Letters' by Dr. Patrick Fitzgerald explores references to objects that Donegal emigrants took with them to America and Canada that are contained in nineteenth-century emigrant letters in the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies collection at the Ulster American Folk Park.  Dr. Patrick Fitzgerald is Lecturer and Development Officer at the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies.  

 

Photo 3 (Reaping with a Sickle)

Reaping with a sickle.  The sickle was one of the agricultural implements that seasonal migrants from Donegal took with them to Scotland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Image courtesy of the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum).

 

Each of the contributors will be give a short presentation on their research at the launch.  Music will be provided by Donegal fiddlers Danny Meehan & Dr. Caoimhín Mac Aoidh.  Copies of the booklet will be available free-of-charge at the launch and everyone is welcome to attend. 

 

Photo 4 (Danny Meehan) 

Renowned-Donegal fiddler Danny Meehan from Drimalost, Mountcharles playing the fiddle outside his cottage (Image courtesy of Caoimhín Mac Aoidh).

 

If you would like to register for the free Donegal-Irish Diaspora Conference, you can register on the Donegal County Council website at www.donegalcoco.ie  Copies of the booklet will also be available from the County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council on (074) 917 2576 or by e-mail at heritage@donegalcoco.ie  The booklet can also be downloaded free-of-charge from the County Donegal Heritage Office website at www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage

 

Photo 5 (Brown Letter)

Brown family emigrant’s letter (July 11, 1876) courtesy of the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies.

 

 

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