Larne has a long connection with the United States, being a port of emigration from which many Ulster Scots emigrants departed for their new life.
The first emigrant ship to sail from Larne during the great 18th century migration of the Ulster Scots community was the Friend's Goodwill. It sailed from the harbour, originally at Quay Street close to the centre of town, in May of 1717, reaching the safety of Boston harbour in September of that year.
Many thousands of emigrants subsequently sailed to New York, Philadelphia and Charleston from Larne and the ships continued with their voyages up until the time of the American Revolution. Between July 1771 and September 1772, for example there were at least seven sailings from Larne, all but one to Charleston. It is estimated that they took over 1700 passengers of Ulster Scots stock who became the frontiersmen and women of the United States.
A Memorial to the Emigrants is situated in Curran Park in the town of Larne as a reminder of the strong connections between Larne and the United States. These bonds were further strengthened during the time of the second world war when the town welcomed many US servicemen stationed at camps throughout the Borough.
In the twenty-first century, almost 400 years after the first emigrants left Larne, we maintain our Ulster American Connections through our official twinning with the town of Clover, South Carolina and the County of York, South Carolina. The Ulster American Society of Larne is honoured to have entertained visitors from both York County and Clover and look forward to maintaining our friendships and developing future projects which will be of benefit to our communities on both sides of the Atlantic.
These Ulster American Connection has now come full circle with the arrival from York County Museum of an original emigrant trunk which will take pride of place in the new Larne Museum.
Our American connections are promoted and developed through The Ulster American Society of Larne, under the chairmanship of Mr Liam Kelly, JP.
The Society was formed in 1991 and has evolved over time to develop a number of projects which include -
1. Memorial to the Emigrants
2. Ulster American Heritage Trail
3. Twinning with Clover and with York County, South Carolina
4. Schools Exchange Programme
5. Cultural events
If you are tracing your family tree, please look at the important information contained in the geneology section of our website.
A number of old graveyards contain gravestones of interest from an Ulster American perspective.