Just a five minute walk from Larne town’s Main Street lies the historic Curran Park, where you can find a statue depicting a historic Irish migration.
The statue commemorates the many that fled Ireland from Larne Harbor and pays homage to the Friends’ Goodwill, one of the first ships to leave Ulster. The ship left Ireland in May 1717, bound for Boston, Massachusetts with 52 passengers (mainly Ulster-Scots) aboard. Historical accounts say the journey was difficult—at one point, straws were drawn to see who would be the first eaten. Thankfully the ship made it before things got that bad, and the ship arrived in America after more than three and a half months.
Between 1717 and 1776, nearly 300,000 Ulster-Scots and Scotch-Irish made the journey across the Atlantic. The exact cause of this mass migration is still unknown, but we do know that Ireland suffered multiple droughts between 1714 and 1719, which would have caused a major impact on food prices and availability. In 1716 many sheep were affected by a destructive disease known as rot, and severe frosts occurred across most of Europe.
Every year Larne town celebrates that historic migration with the Friends Goodwill Festival in May, celebrating the Irish-American relationship with music, sports, and lots of food and drink.
Know Before You Go
The Friends of Goodwill Memorial Statue is located in the grounds of Curran Park, a short walk from Larne Town Center down the Curran Road.