Homelands to Townlands: Italian Communities

Homelands to Townlands: Italian Communities

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Antrim, Casalattico, Casalvieri, Clonard Monastery, Donegall Street, North Belfast, Saint Patrick's Church




Transmission 29/01/2008


24min 02sec







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 Leo D'Agostino, a second generation Italian living in Belfast. Through the use of photographs, home videos and interviews with the man himself, we start to understand Leo's multifaceted identity and how embedded Leo is in both the Italian and Northern Irish communities and cultures 

The story starts with Leo's grandparents eloping to Belfast. However, they never fully settled and moved back to Italy after a few short months and it was there that they raised their children, including Leo's mother. Leo's mother and father were from neighbouring villages, Casalvieri and Casalattico. They wed in their thirties, however, due to a lack of work in the area, they had little choice but to migrate. They passed through various places in North America before eventually settling in Belfast, finding themselves amidst the growing Italian community that had taken root in the city. This community, based predominantly on York Street and the Crumlin Road, was often referred to as 'Little Italy' at the time.

Leo relates the challenges he faced in assimilating to Northern Irish society, going to an English speaking school but coming home and being surrounded by those who spoke primarily, or exclusively Italian. He also describes how his familiarity with, and appreciation of, the Italian culture grew each time he journeyed back to his parents' hometowns. 

Also featured in the programme, interviews with two Italian natives, now living in Belfast, who share their thoughts on how they've integrated into the local society.  


Supported by the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council

A Westway Film Production for UTV.

Contributor: Leo D'Agostino 



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