This is a very well thought through exhibit and attraction. It is well worth going to. It has an excellent library on family history with helpful well-informed staff. The cafe food is not too imaginative and has nothing to do with the exhibit but is cheerfully and enthuisiastically presented.
The problem I had was being told, from the moment I got there, when it was closing and being left in no doubt that the staff saw their principal function as shutting the place up ahead of that time. I was there near the end of the day and the last three buildings on the route around were locked up half and hour before closing. This is a real shame and reflects very badly on the staff and volunteers who run the place. I would not make as much of this if it was not unrelenting. Not one employee I met failed to remind me of when I had to be off the grounds. It clashed with the context of hard-working Ulstermen on the frontier and in the province. Many guests there that day remarked on it, trying to maintain good humour when important exhibits were shut through pure lazyness and lack of respect.
The buildings are really interesting, all original and give a real sense of authenticity. The lay-out, particularly the transition from old world to new, is original and powerfully evokes the emigrant experience. There is a great deal to cover and the thematic separation of the rooms achieves this very well, without becoming disjointed which could easily happen. It really is a museum that justifies all of the taxpayer money that must have gone into making it a reality. My father and ourselves enjoyed the exhibits immensely and my children found it compelling. It is worth a trip out to western Ulster and definitely a highlight if you are in the area.
I believe that, in general (so not a specific criticism) that staff/volunteers dressed up in historical garb actually add little to the experience with the few memorised words of introduction and the bizarre personal theories that they often embellish their historical patter with. As this was not an exception at the Ulster Folk Park, in my view, I would prefer if the volunteers and staff were restricted to working in the gift shop. Given their view on their terms of employment, and this is a national museum of Northern Ireland, it would be kinder to the visitors. I'd prefer to just be locked in and have my escape over the wall without hearing the whining, too common in our times, about rights without obligations.