Ulster American Folk Park launches new tourism experience, Folk Park Live

Tourism NI and Arts Council of Northern Ireland team up with award-winning arts organisation, Snow Water, to bring visitors on a 300 year musical journey

25th August: The Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, County Tyrone, launches ‘Folk Park Live’ this week on 27th August, taking visitors through a 300 year musical journey. This is an exciting new tourism experience by Snow Water, an award-winning arts organisation that celebrates NI’s finest artistic talent.

Snow Water has gathered together some of Northern Ireland’s most talented and versatile musicians to take visitors on a journey through music and song that charts the stories of emigration. Visitors will enjoy an immersive audiovisual tour of the museum, with songs that tell of the lives and plight, the hardships and the successes of those who had to leave Ulster over 300 years.

A partnership between Tourism NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, ‘Embrace the Place’, was established in 2019 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. Following an investment by Tourism NI, Snow Water was commissioned to present a collection of original art work that reflects the heritage of the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh. 

Rosemary Lightbody, Experience Development Manager, Tourism NI, said:

“Embrace the Place has been an opportunity to collaborate innovatively with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland across some of our most iconic visitor destinations including experiences at Belfast’s Maritime Mile, Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Navan Fort in Armagh and now, Folk Park Live at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh.

“Snow Water’s Folk Park Live, the final project in this initiative, delivers a whole new layer of emotion to the visitor experience at the Ulster American Folk Park and a deep connection with the place and its stories of emigration. This new interactive visitor trail also compliments Tourism NI’s new experience brand, Embrace a Giant Spirit, as through the tremendous musical talent of the participating artists and the emotional stories within the songs, visitors are taken on a journey that truly engages with the authenticity of the destination and the spirit of its people.”

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to see the final project from the Embrace the Place programme of events, Folk Park Live, launch at the Ulster American Folk Park, where it will be enjoyed not only by visitors to the museum but also to digital audiences around the world. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our venues and tourism sites have had to close their doors and it’s heartening to once again see this wonderful space reopen and present this terrific new musical experience that we can all engage with and be inspired by.

“We are proud to partner with Tourism NI on the Embrace the Place initiative which has been a tremendous success and has breathed new life into some of Northern Ireland’s most scenic and iconic locations by re-telling stories of those areas through the arts. Huge congratulations to Snow Water who now present an incredible line up of some of the region’s top musicians to take audiences on an immersive, thrilling musical journey charting the story of Ulster emigration.”

This new experience features musical talents such as Neil Martin, Jack Warnock, Gemma Bradley, Niall Hanna, Maurice Leyden, Eilidh Patterson, Gareth Dunlop, No Oil Paintings, Cathal Hayden, Mary Dillon and ROE.

A live performance from each musician was filmed at 12 locations across the Ulster American Folk Park to create a musical experience that can be enjoyed both online and on site at the Ulster American Folk Park. It includes songs from home and songs written from afar about home; Scottish-influenced fiddle music and piping; Appalachian music; religious songs; fast, lively energising music and slower reflective pieces.

Aaron Ward, Head of Audience Development, National Museums NI, added:

“We are very excited to give a warm welcome back to visitors at the Ulster American Folk Park and to launch this new partnership project, Folk Park Live. This immersive music trail is a great way to creatively and authentically explore new ways of bringing the heritage at the museum to life. The artistry from Snow Water combined with the museum expertise from National Museums NI has created a unique experience that our visitors will greatly enjoy, both from home and while they are visiting.”

Book tickets online in advance to guarantee your timeslot, with a range of ticket options available. The new visitor experience is included in the cost of the ticket. Visit www.nmni.com/whats-on/ulster-american-folk-park-tickets for more information. The experience is also available to view at www.folkparklive.com.