Ireland and America are inextricably linked. From the initial emigration of the Ulster Scots in the 18th century to Famine emigration of the mid 19th century the building blocks of the USA are heavily connected with the Irish. No fewer than 17 US presidents claim Irish ancestry and the ties can be found right across the island. Here are just some of the many sights and attractions that you can find related to America whilst on a private tour of Ireland with Little Gem...
The Annie Moore Statue in County Cork
The Annie Moore Statue is located in the quaint coastal town of Cobh in County Cork. The statue depicts Annie Moore who was the first immigrant to be processed in Ellis Island when the facility opened in 1892.
Contemporary sources suggest the girl was pushed to the front by her brothers, after an Irish longshoreman shouted “ladies first”. Others speculate that, in a room heaving with Italians, Armenians, Jews and Slovaks, an English-speaking northern European was chosen to present a more acceptable immigrant face for the assembled New York newsmen.
Whatever the truth, the Cobh native, newly arrived as a steerage passenger on the SS Nevada, stepped forward, was duly registered and presented with a $10 gold piece by the island’s superintendent.
The Kindred Spirits Statue in County Cork
In the heart of County Cork in the town of Midleton, The Kindred Spirits Sculpture commemorates a marvellous act of kindness by the Choctaw Native Americans when they raised $170 of their own money, equivalent to thousands of dollars today, in aid to supply food for the starving Irish during the hight of the famine in 1848.
The Valentia Island Transatlantic Cable Station in County Kerry
A journey around the Ring of Kerry would not be complete without a hop off to Valentia Island. Here you will find a commeration to the first transatlantic cable which was successfully placed in 1857 on the third attempt. The introduction of the telegraph stations to south west Kerry was immense and its effects can still be seen to this day in terms development of the villages of Waterville, Valentia and Ballinskelligs.
Moneygall Village in County Tipperary. Ancestral home of Barack Obama
Moneygall Village in County Tipperary, home to just over 300 people was put on the map when a connection with President Barack Obama was unearthed and the then president visited back in 2011. A plaque can be found in the village in the location of his great, great, great grandfather Falmouth Kearney's old homestead.
The Andrew Jackson Cottage in County Antrim
The Andrew Jackson Centre is housed in a mid 18th-century cottage at Boneybefore on the outskirts of Carrickfergus, just off the Larne Road close to the shore of Belfast Lough. The original Jackson home, from where Andrew Jackson’s parents and older brothers left for America in 1765, was just a short distance away, but was demolished in the 19th century to make way for the railway; a blue plaque marks the spot.
The exhibition tells the story of the Jackson family against the backdrop of what was happening in Ulster in the 17th and 18th centuries, including the arrival of settlers Britain, the rise of the linen industry and emigration to the American Colonies. It also looks at the life of Andrew Jackson, who rose from humble origins in the Carolinas to eventually become the 7th President of the United States.
John F Kennedy Arboretum in County Wexford
Dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy, whose great-grandfather, Patrick, was born in the nearby village of Dunganstown, this arboretum near New Ross, County Wexford, contains a plant collection of presidential proportions.
It covers a massive 252 hectares on the summit and southern slopes of Slieve Coillte and contains 4,500 types of trees and shrubs from all temperate regions of the world. There are 200 forest plots grouped by continent. Of special note is an ericaceous garden with 500 different rhododendrons and many varieties of azalea and heather, dwarf conifers and climbing plants.
The lake is perhaps the most picturesque part of the arboretum and is a haven for waterfowl. There are amazing panoramic views from the summit of the hill, 271 metres above sea level. A visitor centre houses engaging exhibitions on JFK and on the Arboretum itself.
The Kinsale 911 Garden of Remembrance
The Kinsale Garden of Remembrance was established by a Kinsale lady, Kathleen Cait Murphy who worked as a nurse for over 30 years in New York City. During that time she came to admire the work of the fireman and was shocked at the deaths of 343 of their number who died in 9/11. As a result she decided to provide a memorial in Ireland, on her land at Ringfinnan, Kinsale, with a tree for each of the firemen who died as well as one for their chaplain Father Michael Judge who was a personal friend of hers. Since the garden was planted many relatives and friends of the dead have come to visit and leave prayers, photographs and flowers there.