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Last Updated: Friday, 12 December, 2003, 19:37 GMT
'Irish village' being built in US
Irish cottage in East Durham, NY
Laverty cottage in East Durham, NY, was brought stone by stone from Ireland
Developers in New York State have reconstructed a 19th Century cottage brought stone by stone from Ireland.

It is the first building to be completed in a "Irish Village" being built in the town of East Durham.

The 48-hectare (120-acre) theme park will recreate the life of Irish people who then decided to emigrate to the United States in the 19th Century.

The $17 million project proposes to create traditional thatched cottages, pubs and Irish churches.

Developers say they hope to "promote and preserve the cultural and artistic heritage of the Irish".

'Living history' museum

East Durham, in the state's Catskill Mountains about 120 miles (192 km) north-west of New York City, was once called "the Emerald Isle of the Catskills".

Original Laverty cottage in County Donegal
... from an original cottage in County Donegal
The nickname came from the thousands of Irish people who descended on the region in the early 1900s for holidays.

The area remains a magnet for first-generation Irish immigrants, says Jerry Connelly, development director of the Irish village.

"This is a densely populated Irish area," he told BBC news online.

"You have a lot of Connellys and Donnellys and Mulligans. Most Irish people first moved to New York City, then they found a country home here and ended up retiring up here."


Jerry Laverty, one of the village's architects, donated his family's cottage from county Donegal, in the north-west of the Irish Republic.

It was disassembled and shipped to East Durham. An Irish thatcher used traditional techniques to build the roof.

The cottage is expected to be open to the public next year, once 19-century furniture has been installed.

The whole village will consist of about 30 buildings, and is expected to take another four or five years to complete.

Mr Connelly added that the theme park would also have a memorial honouring the victims of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks.

An estimated 40 million Americans claim Irish descent.

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