The Centre for Migration Studies

An international institution studying Irish migration

The Centre for Migration Studies  (CMS) aims to serve the community as a leading international institution for the study of human migration, focusing on the peoples of Ireland worldwide.

Migration studies is about advancing the understanding of the movement and settlement of people (including immigration, internal migration, seasonal migration and emigration) through multidisciplinary approaches (including history, politics, economics, language, literature, art, and religion). The centre is a project of the Scotch-Irish Trust of Ulster, which supports the work of the Ulster-American Folk Park through partnership with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the five Education and Library Boards of Northern Ireland, Queens University Belfast, the University of Ulster, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and Enterprise Ulster. CMS is a member of the Association of European Migration Institutions and has close links with Migration Studies at University College Cork.

The CMS Library contains some 10,000 volumes, 1,340 maps, plus significant holdings of journals, microforms and recordings. The focus of the collection is on Ireland and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the links between the two. The collection was organized originally to support the activities of the Ulster-American Folk Park, and to this end the library developed strengths in the fields of agriculture, architecture, crafts and industry, social customs, biography, politics, and religion.

More recently the collection has expanded to cover the 17th and 20th centuries and all aspects of Irish migration worldwide. Special Collections of note include the CMS Irish Emigration Database, which contains some 30,000 primary source documents on all aspects of Irish emigration to North America, including Canada, from the early 1700s to the 1900s. Begun in 1988, new documents are being added to this database on a regular basis. Types of documents include ship passenger lists, emigrant letters, family papers and diaries of emigrants, shipping advertisements, newspaper reports, death and marriage notices of former emigrants, birth notices of children of Irish government reports and statistics of Irish emigration to North America, and illustrated material showing ship types, ports, routes and maps, shipboard conditions, and the cost of the voyage.

Another collection of special note is Art of European Migration, an image database designed to promote study of the migration themes of ’departure’, ’arrival’, and ’return. This is accessible through the CMS website .

Visitors are welcome to the centre, at no charge. The library collection is reference only, and is catalogued on cards. Disabled access facilities are available. The Centre offers a Master’s programme on Irish migration studies through Queen’s University Belfast, plus courses for visiting groups tailored to individual needs. It also hosts conferences, seminars and programmes on migration-related topics. Staff respond to enquiries and offer advice on historical research, including family history research involving migration records. Fees will be incurred for photocopying and microform prints, but there is no charge for Internet access. Publications include the autobiography of Thomas Mellon, whose family home is the nucleus of the Ulster-American Folk Park, entitled Thomas Mellon and His Times (1994); The Hungry Stream: Essays on Emigration and Famine (1997), edited by E. Margaret Crawford; and Atlantic Crossroads: Historical Connections between Scotland, Ulster and North America (2001), edited by Patrick Fitzgerald and Steve Ickringill. Booklets about the ULSTER-AMERICAN FOLK PARK and the Mellon House are also available. The park offers a restaurant.

Hours of Opening :
Monday-Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm; closed weekends and public holidays

Contact details:
B.K. Lambkin, Director
Christine McIvor, Principal Librarian
Patrick Fitzgerald, Lecturer and Development Officer

Ulster-American Folk Park 2 Mellon Road Castletown
OMAGH, CO. TYRONE, BT78 5QY Northern Ireland
TELEPHONE: (028) 8225 6315; FAX: (028) 82242241