A new exhibition entitled From Rocky Shores to the Rocky Mountains opens today at University College Cork telling the tale of the Irish in Montana. Through four themes – The Journey, Work & Labour, Women & Children, and Church & Club – the story unfolds of famine emigrants arriving in Butte and transforming it into what became known as Ireland's fifth province.
At the turn of the last century the Irish made up a higher percentage in Butte than they did in any other American city; even today, one in four of the town's population is of Irish descent.
The Cork connection originates principally from the Beara Peninsula and the emigration of some 1,500 miners following the failure of the copper mines in Allihies. (See my post on Allihies Copper Mine Museum which won an impressive award last month.)
Although the exhibition concentrates on Montana, it holds interest for any family historian with emigrant ancestors (and that means pretty much all of us!) as many of the experiences will have been similar. It is on display in UCC Library and will continue until the end of September.
UCC Library is open Monday-Friday 8.30am–4.15pm and Saturday 10am–12.45pm.