Material Culture of Donegal Communities Abroad

Monday, 23 May, 2016
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The County Donegal Heritage Office has launched a wonderful booklet on the cultural migration and material culture of Donegal communities abroad which can be downloaded for free.

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.

The narrative accounts focus on selected historical migration patterns from Donegal to America, Canada, Scotland and England and the items that Donegal people took with them when they left.

Download the booklet here