The speaker at the March meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society was Dr. Patrick Fitzgerald, Head of Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh.
His subject was Emigration, with special reference to the local area. Dr Fitzgerald spoke of the continual stream of people who emigrated from Ireland since the sixteen hundreds at first to the mainland of Great Britain, and later across the Atlantic to America and Canada.
There was a huge haemorrhage of emigrants from all over Ireland after the famine when people bravely faced a three week journey by sail and rarefy returned. With the advent of steam in 1860, more people were prepared to go with a view to improving their prospects, possibly returning, but most importantly, sending money home which in many cases, was to find a ticket for a sibling to emigrate also.
Dr Fitzgerald put up slides showing lists of names from the Bellaghy, Castledawson and Maghera areas, many of which were familiar to his audience.
Thanking Dr. Fitzgerald for his most excellent talk, the Chairperson, Mrs Mary Breslin reminded the large audience that next months meeting on Tuesday 9th April would be presentations by several members on life in Bellaghy in times past, when opportunities for employment were limited.
<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-114″ src=”http://bellaghyhistoricalsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Dr.-Patrick-Fitzgerald.jpg” alt=”Dr.-Patrick-Fitzgerald” width=”180″ height=”274″ />Dr. Patrick Fitzgerald, Head of Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh.