New book charts Derry’s Ulster-Scots emigration history

Yesterday saw the launch of a fascinating new book detailing the emigration of many of the local Ulster-Scots population from the North West throughout the 18th century.

‘They Sailed from Londonderry’, by historian and journalist Billy Kennedy, follows the epic journey made by thousands of Presbyterians from the North West who left the city’s quays to seek a better life across the Atlantic.

Supported by Culture Company 2013 and the Ulster-Scots Agency, the book was written to mark Derry’s year as UK City of Culture, focusing on one of the most compelling chapters in the city’s history when it was a main port of embarkation for the emigration of Ulster-Scots Presbyterians to America.

This diaspora was prominently involved in the establishment of the United States as the bedrock of global democracy and independence. The list of US luminaries who emanated from this part of Ireland is impressive, including Presidents James Knox Polk and Ulysses Simpson Grant and American hero of the wild frontier Davy Crockett, to name but a few.

Billy Kennedy has been a journalist with the News Letter for 40 years and is a leading heritage author and expert in the field of Ulster-Scots history. ‘They Sailed from Londonderry’ is out now.