Alvirne Farm Becomes Part of an Irish Pilgrimage

November 8, 2019


by Len Lathrop

Nine visitors from Aghadowey, Northern Ireland, came to the Alvirne farm as part of a pilgrimage to learn what footprints their ancestors established in what is known as the 1718 Migration.

In 1719 in the community of Nutfield, a group of Protestants led by Rev. James MacGregor founded the community now recognized as Derry, Londonderry, Windham and parts of Manchester.

The group is being hosted by the First Parish Church in East Derry, the Londonderry Presbyterian Church and the Windham Presbyterian Church.  Marge Palmer is very active in the First Parish Church and several on the reenacted pilgrimage were farmers who wanted to see a dairy herd in the area.

Well, the Alvirne farm welcomed these faraway visitors with open arms. First Parish Church Rev. Dr. Deborah Root and the rest of the group they toured the farm with questions being fielded by both Alvirne Principal Steve Beals and Farm Manager Emorey Nadeau.  Several of the guests had questions about feed and spoke about the different way cattle were handled across the pond.  It seems that many more regulations are in place about animal treatment and explained that organic farms are mandatory.  The visitors mentioned that most farms are parlor type and that chained stations are not allowed.

Providing the background behind their trip and the history involved was Michelle Knight-McQuillan, an elected council member and former mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, a government district that includes more than 20 towns including her home in Aghadowey of County Londonderry.  It’s also Rev. MacGregor’s town of origin and so they wanted to know more about the Presbyterian migrants and the Nutfield Legacy.

Being a stop on this Irish pilgrimage was a welcome adventure.