Mary Ellen Higgins

Diary of an emigrant journey, Moylough to the USA, 1927

Emma Laffey

A wonderful hand written diary of a detailed account of Mary Ellen Higgins, Lakeview, Moylough, County Galway, and her emigration journey in April 1927 to the United States – from Moylough to Athenry, to Cobh County Cork before arrival in New York. Mary Ellen was born in 1907 and at just 20 years old, she took this journey across the Atlantic Ocean on the R.M.S Scythia, like so many others around the country. In her diary Mary Ellen gives a detailed accounts of buying her tickets, those she met on her journey, the cost of food on board, how sickness fell on them with high seas crossing the Atlantic and of course the entertainment on board.

Mary Ellen was an aunt of Bridie Scanlon, formerly Costello, from Ballaghnagrosheen. Bridie kept this diary for many years and now thankfully it is with The National Folklore Collection in UCD. This account gives an invaluable insight to what it was like to emigrate for many of our Irish people who were often alone during these journeys leaving family and friends behind and many never got to see them again.

Included is a photograph of Mary Ellen, the boat she sailed on and the ships manifest of her record on board.

Click on the link below to view Mary Ellen’s Diary of her journey to the USA:

As she says herself on the second page read every second leaf. She started writing on the right hand side pages while she left the left side blank and when she ran out of pages she started writing backwards on the left hand side.

Or you can read the transcription of the diary also attached below


This page was added on 22/03/2022.

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