15 participants completed the ‘Emigration and Empathy programme’ and found it to be an enlightening insight into the lives of Irish women who emigrated to America and Canada in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries .   Organised in conjunction with the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, this five week programme focussed upon a collective reading and discussion of ‘Bad Bridget’. The book, authored by Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick and published earlier this year, draws upon their research of Irish female emigrants to America in the three generations after the Great Famine. The focus is directed towards the stories of these women and how they found themselves upon the wrong side of the law in their adopted country.

The group enjoyed learning about these women, sharing in the discussions each evening and exploring the ‘Bad Bridget’ exhibition.  Part of the programme involved a study visit to the Enniskillen Workhouse and the Peace Heroines exhibition in Enniskillen castle which was really well received .  The exhibition captures a diversity of voices and perspectives, featuring 30 women’s stories including Monica McWilliams, Linda Irvine MBE, Pat Hume and Baroness May Blood.

The programme offered participants an opportunity to ‘ walk in the shoes’ of Irish emigrants and have empathy for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers to this country.