Belfast & Northern Ireland

President Wilson House

President Woodrow Wilson's grandfather James learned the printing trade in Strabane before emigrating from this family home in 1807 aged just 20. James' son Joseph was a Presbyterian minister and served as a pastor in the American Civil War. Joseph's son Woodrow was born in 1856 and went on to graduate from Princeton and University of Virginia Law School.

Woodrow married Ellen in 1885 and became president of Princeton in 1902. A decade later he was elected 28th President of the USA. Wilson served two terms and was instrumental in pushing through major financial and social reforms. His Presidency is, however, synonymous with the USA's arrival into WW1. Unwilling to maintain neutrality against Germany, Wilson eventually led his country to war in 1917.

He famously declared it a "war to end all wars" and, following Germany's surrender, introduced the idea of the League of Nations at Versailles. It is for this work that Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. Wilson's dream of a third term effectively ended when US German voters, and an Irish electorate disillusioned by his wartime alliance with Britain, turned their backs in their droves.

A stroke in 1919 left Wilson partially paralysed, and elevated the political status of second wife Edith who assumed full responsibility of his schedule. Wilson died in 1924 and is the only President buried in Washington DC at the National Cathedral.

Unfortunately the Wilson House was damaged by fire and currently remains closed.
Before the attack, you could visit the thatched white-washed building sitting on the slopes of the Sperrins. Inside, were some of the original furnishings including the tiny bed in the kitchen sleeping nook and pots and kettles hanging from the fireplace. There was also a selection of farmyard equipment from the era. Hopefully the building will reopen once renovation work is completed.

To get there: Head for Strabane via the M2, M22 and Plumbridge. Take the Plumbridge Rd and follow the sign for the 'Wilson House'.


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