Homelands to Townlands: Chinese Communities

Homelands to Townlands: Chinese Communities

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Belfast, Derry, Hong Kong, St Georges Market




Transmission 12/02/2008


24min 30sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Westway Films

Rights Holder

ITV, Westway Films

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


In this episode, we meet Karen and Stella. Originally from Hong Kong, they came to Northern Ireland a number of years ago and proceeded to make new lives for themselves, settling and raising their families in the province. Through interviews and home videos, we gain insights into their multifaceted lives and the ways in which both Chinese and Northern Irish cultures shape their identities. 

Now the largest ethnic minority in Northern Ireland, migration of Chinese nationals to Northern Ireland commenced in the 1960s and has continued unabated to the present day - even through The Troubles. As such, there are three different Chinese languages spoken amongst the NI Chinese community, though Cantonese is the most widely spoken variant.

The programme opens at St. Georges Market, location of festivities to mark the Chinese New Year. We are introduced to Stella, who describes the struggles of moving to a foreign land and not knowing the language. This is echoed by Karen, who recounts how she taught herself English when she first moved here. She acknowleges how much more difficult it must be for elderly migrants to learn a new language. 

Both Karen and Stella draw comparisons between Northern Ireland and Hong Kong, noting that heir children have retained a connection to Chinese culture, even though they would consider Northern Ireland their home. 

The topic of racism within Northern Irish society is also addressed, in particular how such behaviour is directed to the Chinese community and/or manifests within the school environment.


Supported by the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council

A Westway Film Production for UTV



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