Celebrating the identity, heritage, & culture of Ulster & the Ulster-Scots (a.k.a. "Scots-Irish") people worldwide!

Friday, December 31, 2010

J. E. B. Stuart pictured on Ulster mural

Here's a mural I took a picture of in Belfast in 2007 ( I believe). JEB Stuart is pictured here, a cavalary general in the C. S. A. military.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ulster audio recordings added to blog

We have gone ahead and added the various audio recordings we have put together over the last couple years to our blog. They are located at the top right-hand side beneath the spinning Northern Ireland flag. Just click to listen or you can click and save them to your computer. They're free for you to enjoy. More will be coming!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ulster-Scots/Dixie flag

A Facebook friend of mine sent me this picture combining the Ulster nationalist flag and the Confederate flag of Dixie.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The 18th of December

Tomorrow is the 18th of December the actual date the Apprentice Boys closed the gates in 1688. The snow has been falling all last night and today and is lying pretty thick but the parade of the Broadway and Shankill Clubs will go ahead as planned. Both Clubs have the effigy's of Lundy made ready to set alight tomorrow night.

We may be having it bad,but nothing I'm sure to the experience of the Brave Thirteen who closed the gates on that winter day so long ago. We will remember them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Flag display in Ulster pub

I added the picture of the flag display featuring the NI, UK, Confederate, Rhodesian and South African flags to the bottom of the SNN website.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rabbi Schiller: Twelfth is 'last legitimate folk festival in the West'

'On several occasions, the Rabbi [Mayer Schiller] visited Ulster where he attended the Twelfth Of July Unionist parade ("the last legitimate folk festival in the West and the only one without corporate sponsorship") and met with Reverend Ian Paisley. The Rabbi jokes that his affinity for both traditionalist Catholicism and Ulster unionism presents a big dilemma during Celtic-Rangers soccer games.'

Click here for entire article

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not Irish

'Moreover, it is interesting to note that they did nor regard themselves as Irish. In fact, nothing infuriated them more than to be classed as Irish. ''It made my blood boil.'' said William Smith, ''to hear ourselves called a parcel of Irish.''

They protested violently when American people and American officials described them in this way. There were, they said with great indignation people of the Scottish nation in Ulster''.

After a while and because of this protest and others they began to be known as Scotch-Irish. While this was still not satisfactory, in the end they settled for it as it did make some distinction between them and the Irish.'


Don't know if this link will work alright. It's a BBC Ulster-Scots series which as well as being out and about in Ulster visits America with Mark Wilson following the trail of the Ulster-Scots down the Great Wagon Road and meeting up with a group called "The Hillbilly Gipsies."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some State Governers From Ulster Stock

up untill 1900 at least forty eight state governors claimed Ulster Scot heritage.
here are a few...

with thanks to H.D.

Alabama---Robert Miller Patton (1809-85 ) 17th Governor

Colorado---Edward Moody Mc Cook (1869-73, 1874-75 )

Delaware ---Charles Polk (1788-1857)
John P Cochrane (1809-98)

all the above had at least one Governor of Ulster scot Heritage.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ulster-Scots Everywhere

Letter to Wittens magazine of the Ulster Scots Heritage Council from Ronnie Thompson Edenbrooke Primary School Belfast.

Whilst on holiday recently in Los Angeles,my niece Jennifer and her husband Jose suggested that we travel down to San Diego and visit the Aircraft Carrier USS Midway. After a two hour drive down and then a most enjoyable four hour tour of this magnificent ship we decided it was time to head back up home to LA.

On the way back up the coast,Jennifer's husband Jose suggested that we should finish our day with a quiet drink and of course it is bad manners to refuse! A few miles on down the road we spotted a pub called 'The Field' and being a loyal Ulsterman I agreed ''this will do for me''. Upon entering the pub we discovered it was a themed Irish bar and the barman was Dominic! We had barely finished our first drink when the door opened and to my amazement or astonishment in walked about 100 or more men and women wearing kilts. As there wern't enough seats for them all we offered some of them seats beside us. I asked them ''why the kilts?'' and to my susprise the answer was this ''Sir,we are the Ulster-Scots of North Carolina''. After at least two hours crack and a few pints to ease the vocal chords,we bid each other goodbye. ''Ye all come to North Carolina'' was the invitation and ''You'll be mighty welcome,but if you are of the clan Campbell you cannae sleep the night!

The Ulster-Scots are everywhere these days!

Ronnie Thompson

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

God's Frontiersmen

This book was published in 1989. This is from the flyleaf

GOD'S FRONTIERSMEN...tells the dramatic story of the Ulster-Scots,or Scots-Irish as they are also known - Scottish Presbyterians who came to the north of ireland in the seventeenth century and who constitue the dominant strain among Ulster Protestants to-day. Aptly called the 'Frontiersmen of God',they brought with them their Cavlinist beliefs, a stern work ethic and a fiercely independent spirit. Econmic hardship and religious discrimination led thousands to cross the Atlantic where they formed the vanguard of the great army of pioneers who pushed the frontier west.

Many of the famous names in American history came from Ulster stock: the frontiersmen Davy Crockett and Kit Carson,the Civil War generals Stonewall Jackson and Ulysses S Grant,and,in the world of business,the millionaire dynasties of the Gettys and the Mellons. The Scots-Irish played a leading role in drafting the Declaration of Independence. At least ten United States Presidents were of Scots-Irish origin,including Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson.

In the developing lands of Canada,Australia and New Zealand the Ulster-Scots sent farmers and engineers,doctors and clergymen,who played a major role in forging these new societies.

In Ulster the book charts Belfast's rapid growth in the nineteenth century,due largely to the entrepreneurial skills and energy of the Ulster-Scots,and the deepening religious and political divisions leading to the partition of Ireland in 1922. A companion volume to the major Channel Four television series of the same name,the book offers a greater understanding of an often misrepresented people who have helped shape Western society and who now in their Ulster homeland face the greatest crisis of their existence.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Ulster-Scots sailed west

As it says, there are not all the American towns with Ulster names.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Concern Back In Ulster

In April 1773, the Londonderry Journal expressed alarm at the high rate of emigration, estimating that some 17,500 persons had gone to America from Ulster ports since 1771: ''The great part of these emigrants paid their passage, which at 3 pounds 10 shillings each amounted to 60,725 pounds, most of them people employed in the linen manufacture, or farmers, and some of property which they turned into money and carried with them.... This removal is sensibly felt in this country.

''This prevalent humour of industrious Protestants withdrawing from this once flourishing corner of the kingdom, seems to be increasing: and it is thought the number will be considerably larger this year than ever.

The north of Ireland has been occasionally used to emigration, for which the American settlements have been much beholden: - But till now, it was chiefly the very meanest of people who went off, mostly in the station of indentured servants and such as had become obnoxious to their mother country. In short, it is computed from many concurrent circumstances, that the north of Ireland has in the last five or six years been drained of one fourth of its trading class, and the like proportion of the manfacturing people. Where the evil will end, remains only in the womb of time to discover.

The S.I. in the Carolinas

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Second National Ulster Flag

The 2nd National Flag still flying today (30/10/2010) in East Belfast.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Callaway Baptist preachers in Georgia

Over this past weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Southern Heritage Festival in Washington, Georgia. It was held on the old Callaway Plantation just outside of town. While in the old home, I took this picture which showcased the many men from the family who have been Baptist preachers over the years. I thought it was an interesting testament to the spiritual and cultural nature of the Ulster settlers of Dixie.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Graeme & Rory show their Ulster pride!

Not 'rubbing it in' to our American friends lol But couldn't resist showing this photo of Graeme and Rory with the Ulster flag after Graeme had won it for Europe.

Well done lads and to our American friends... theres always the next one.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

'Celtic Confederate' music

Check out Celtic Confederate, a Facebook friend of mine of who happens to make excellent music. Pick up one of his albums and support a young Southern heritage activist... you won't regret it after listening to some of his music!

'The title "Celtic Confederate" is in respect of the typical, poor Southern soldier, majority of whom were of recent Celtic descent and who did not own slaves, yet fought for their own liberty against the invading Federal army which first setout to preserve a "voluntary" union that the Federal North contributed in its dismantling by the strangulation of, and profiteering from, the Southern economy.'

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Alabama Christian Music

Seen this on Mark Thompson's site. Scrolling down it was interesting that even in the midst of war in 1944 there was an awareness of the Ulster-Scots people and of who and what they were.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Americans visit Ulster

Think this place is in N.C. Couple of wee things they seemed to have got mixed up a bit, but overall a good report and good to see the interest.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Highlander

'The Highlander is open Monday through Friday from 3PM until 2AM and on Saturday from 5PM until Midnight. Come enjoy good food and drink, games and hang out with friends!'

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Patriotic flags

The flags of the United Kingdom, Ulster, Dixie, former Rhodesia and former South Africa....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

From Belfast to America


'for the next sixty years there was a spectacular out-pouring of ‘Scotch-Irish’ to America. By the middle of the eigthteenth century it was reckoned that 12,000 were leaving Ulster every year.

Belfast was the most important port of departure,even though the most distressed areas were in the west of Ulster. Between 1750 and 1775 at least 143 emigrant vessels left Belfast for America,65 of them with Philadelphia as their destination. For many,America was indeed,as one advertisement put it, ‘the Land of Promise’; a notice in the ‘Belfast News Letter’ in 1766 informing the public that the ‘Falls’ was shortly to sail from Belfast and called on readers to embrace ‘such a favourable opportunity by settling themselves to advantage by removal to that country,a removal which cannot fail to give freedom,peace,and plenty to those who now wish to enjoy those blessings’. America was a land of limitless opportunity to Ulster Scots,where their skills in taming a wild country would be highly valued,and where the Presbyterian work-ethic would receive its just reward,as de Crevecoeur wrote invitingly in 1782:

Welcome to my shores….bless the hour thou didst see my verdant fields,my navigable rivers,and my green mountains!- if thou wilt work,I have bread for thee;if thou wilt be honest,sober,and industrious,I have greater rewards to confer on thee – ease and independence. I willl give thee fields and clothe thee; a comfortable fireside to sit by,and tell thy children by what means thy has prospered…

‘The humour has spread like a contagious distemper,and the people will hardly bear anybody that tries to cure them of their madness,’ Boulter observed. He continued: ‘The worst is,that it affects only Protestants and reigns chiefly in the north,which is the seat of our linen manfacture.’ Catholics had not the inclination to go to the colonies which were still overwhelmingly Protestant.

A prolonged depression – as in the 1770s – could lead to a sudden increase in emigration. Ulster Protestants deeply resented the commercial restrictions designed to protect the mother country’s interests when they had done so much to defeat the Irish Jacobites. Besides,earnings from linen were not enough to compensate for rent increases:

For the rents are getting higher,and I can no longer stay,
So fare well unto ye bonny,bonny Slieve Gallon Braes.
For these days are now all over,for Iam far away,
So fare well unto ye bonny,bonny,Slieve Gallon Braes.

The journey from Belfast across the Atlantic could be perilous,especially when fever broke out on board,or when ships were delayed by calms and contrary winds. In 1729,175 people died on board two vessels from Belfast during the crossing. In 1741 the ‘Seaflower’ sprang her mast en route from Belfast to Philadelphia; forty-six passengers died and six of their corpses were eaten in desperation by the survivors. A fortnight of storms drove the ‘Sally’ off her course from Belfast to Philadelphia in 1762,and sixty-four passengers died. John Smilie survived this voyage and wrote an account of it for his father:

……Hunger and Thirst had now reduced our Crew to the last Extremity; nothing was now to be heard aboard our Ship but the Cries of distressed children,and their distressed Mothers,unable to relieve them. Our Ship now was truly a real Spectacle of Horror! Never a day passed without one of our Crew put over Board; many kill’d themselves by drinking Salt Water; and their own Urine was a common Drink; yet in the midst of alll our Miseries,our Captain shewed not the least Remorse or pity…..

Friday, September 10, 2010

A distinguished list of Ulster-Scots from Londonderry who helped make America

'Londonderry has had a long and chequered history with the Siege there in 1688-89 a highly significant landmark in the annals of these islands and, through the centuries from the origins of the Scottish Plantation, Ulster-Scots have made a meaningful contribution to life in the Maiden City and in the wider North West. Londonderry was a main port for the emigration of Ulster-Scots Presbyterians from the north of Ireland to America and many from this diaspora were prominently involved in the establishment of the United States as the bedrock of global democracy and independence. The list of US luminaries is impressive.'

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Scots-Irish festival coming up in Tennessee

'The only Scots-Irish Festival in the United States will be held on Sept. 25 starting at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Dandridge, Tennessee. The music festival honors the town’s earliest settlers. You and your family will enjoy this old-time Main Street Music Festival on the shores of Douglas Loch (Lake) in the foothills of the beautiful Smokey Mountains. The festival starts at 8:30 a.m. with a Piping and Highland Dance competition. At 10 a.m. the Street Festival opens with vendors selling Scottish and Irish merchandise and a variety of food. There is a Children’s Play Area and many Clans will have booths explaining their origins and history. Starting at 12:00 noon there will be continuous stage entertainment featuring our Ceilidh (Concert) entertainers including Sevier County’s own Cutthroat Shamrock. '

Excellent version of 'Scotland the Brave'

Here's a very good version of 'Scotland the Brave' that I ran across on YouTube preformed on bagpipes.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thousands experience Ulster-Scots culture

This is the cover of the June 2010 publication from the Ulster-Scots Agency. Check out their excellent website at this link.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thumbs up for Ulster!

A special thanks to my friend 'DixieRedHand' over in Ulster for sending a package here with a couple Ulster flags and several newspapers with stories on pro-Ulster events going on. You're the best, man! You can't get that stuff over here so it's extra special.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ulster-Scots tribute to 'Oor Alex'

'A Londonderry poet is set to pay homage to the late snooker genius Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins in a unique way. Ulster Scots scribe, Wilson Burgess, an established and published exponent of the 'hamely tongue' has been commissioned by the Ulster Scots Agency to put pen to paper in honour of the legendary cueman. And, the poem 'Oor Alex' will find a permanent home in the favourite south Belfast watering hole of Higgins, The Royal Bar on Sandy Row, where a resplendent mural has been painted on the outside of the premises in memory of its most renowned patron.

Minister encouraged by Ulster-Scots survey findings

'Survey results published today on 'Public Views on Ulster-Scots Culture, Heritage and Language in Northern Ireland' have been welcomed by Culture Minister Nelson McCausland..... The Minister said: "These results show that Ulster-Scots continues to be widely recognised, across both sections of our community, as an integral part of the cultural fabric of Northern Ireland. As such, and as part of a shared future, it is only right and proper that we continue to support and promote this important aspect of our culture."'

Survey highlights Ulster-Scots

'One in five people in Northern Ireland see themselves as Ulster/Scots, it has been revealed. Pensioners and Protestants were more likely to adopt the traditional identity, with Co Antrim boasting the most enthusiasts, the Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey added.... Democratic Unionist Strangford MP Jim Shannon delivered his Westminster maiden speech earlier this year in Ulster/Scots. He said: "People are more aware of their historical background, if you take an interest in your history and where you come from you find that there is Ulster/Scots descent there."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Discussing the Ulster-Scots at college

Today, we discussed the Ulster-Scots in one of my graduate history classes at university. The professor, who I rarely agree with on much considering she is a rather statist Yankee, was actually rather fair to the people of Ulster. She started with a couple comments against them but then said that when people say "Why don't they just all go back to Scotland and England?" that this is like asking all the people in America of European and African descent to go back to Europe and Africa. She pointed out that Ulster was settled by the Scots in a big way about the same time that North America was settled by Europeans. And she also did use the terms "Ulster" and "Ulster-Scots" when talking about the place and people rather than the more ambiguous "Northern Ireland" and "Scots-Irish" terms often used in America.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Ulster-Scots in America

Good to hear PP that you are taking a bit of our common history to those who may not be aware of it.

I bought a book recently 'The Scot in America and the Ulster Scot'. It was first published in 1912, and is an account of two speeches given by Whitelaw Reid, American Ambassador to Britain. A few lines from his speech...

'But it is now time to take into account another stream of Scottish immigration - the Ulster Scot. This term is preferred to the familar ''Scotch-Irish,'' constantly used in America, because it does not confuse the race with the accident of birth, and because the early immigrants preferred it themselves.

'And, in fact, if these Scottish and Presbyterian colonists must be called Irish because they had been one or two generations in the North of Ireland, then the Pilgrim Fathers, who had been one generation in Holland, must by the same reasoning be called Dutch, or at the very least English-Dutch.'

'After a time they began to suffer from unfriendly legislation,from Church persecution,and from the hostility of the expelled British monarch,James 2nd,which among other things forced them to their long and heroic defence of Londonderry. These experiences turned their eyes after the Scotsmen already prospering in the American colonies, and presently a great movement began among the Ulster Scots. In 1718 five small ships arrived at Boston with about 750 of them,who ultimately settled, some at Londonderry, New Hampshire,'

'A few months later came the Declaration of Independence,summing up the conclusions to which for years the Scots and Ulster Scots had been leading. Out of the fifty-six members who composed the Congress,eleven were of Scottish descent; and among them were such conspicious leaders as John Witherspoon, of New Jersey, James Wilson, of Pennsylvania, Philip Livingston of New York, and Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina.... the Declaration was signed. We guard it now, sacredly preserved in the handwriting of the Ulster Scot who was Secretary of the Congress; it was first publicly read to the people by an Ulster Scot, and first printed by an Ulster Scot.'

To add, those 750 in 1718 who came,were later followed by thousands of others over that century. Estimates vary, but 250,000 - 300,000 is the usually agreed amount.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Standing up for our Ulster roots

I often wear my Ulster shirt (which is blue and has the red hand of Ulster on it and says "Ulster" under the symbol) around town and especially to my university classes. I also do my best to speak out for the Ulster-Scots and our heritage when the subject comes up. More people are doing this, I have noticed. There is a growing awareness of Ulster ancestry and heritage. There are still many millions of people to reach though who are our kinsmen and yet don't know it. I urge folks to stand up for our heritage and let's make some in-roads in reaching those people.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gen McCausland, CSA

Another Confederate General of Ulster-Scots stock...

'Life of Brigadier General John McCausland

By James Earl Brown

Volume 4, Number 4 (July 1943), pp. 239-293


Brigadier General John McCausland, famous as the savior of Lynchburg and as the alleged incendiary of Chambersburg, was born in St. Louis, September 13, 1836. His grandparents, Alexander and Elizabeth Kyle McCausland, had lived at Six Mile Cross, Tyrone County, Ireland. Alexander was the direct descendant of Colonel Robert McCausland of Fruithill, near Newton Limavidy, County Londonderry, who died in 1734.

The name McCausland or McAuslane, as it was called in an early day, is not unknown in ancient Scotch and Irish history. In the days of Wallace and Bruce the McAuslanes lived on the shores of beautiful Loch Lomond in the highlands of Scotland, where they flourished and acted well their part in the bloody local wars of the times. They fought for Malcolm II, who gave them lands and a coat of arms as well.

Most of the McCauslands of Tyrone and Londonderry are descended from Baron McAuslane, who with his two sons, migrated to Ireland from the parish of Luss in the latter part of the reign of King James I. The elder son of Baron McAuslane was the father of Colonel Robert McCausland who had estates in the parish of Cappagh in Tyrone County.

Alexander McCausland, one of the descendants of Colonel Robert, married his cousin Elizabeth Kyle, the daughter of William Kyle who was knighted Sir William the Belt for gallantry and rewarded by land grants in Tyrone, Ireland.

Because of threats of Catholic enemies, Alexander, a Protestant, sold his lands about 1800 for $1,400. He then embarked with his family for America. With his wife and eleven children he landed at Baltimore; then proceeding by wagon to Staunton, Virginia, he joined his relatives, the Kyles. One of Alexander's sons, John, married a cousin, Harriet Kyle Price, a widow who was the daughter of William Kyle and Sarah Stevens Kyle.'

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dr Heny Cooke and Jefferson College

The struggle for the truth in the Synod of Ulster had been watched by thousands in the United States of America. The Presbyterian Church in that country was founded by a Presbyterian minister from Ulster. A large proportion of its members were of Ulster by birth or descent. They felt a deep interest, therefore, in the controversy waged in the land and Church of their fathers. Mr Cooke's name became a household word. When he triumphed, his American brethren were not slow to tender their congratulations, and convey a tribute of esteem to the victor. At a meeting of the Board of Jefferson College, in April 1829, it was resolved that the degree of Doctor in Divinity should be conferred upon the Rev. Henry Cooke.

The letter communicating the intelligence of this unsolicited and unexpected honour is dated October 21st, 1829. It states that the degree was conferred on account of high attainments in literature and science, and zealous earnestness in the promotion of evangelical truth.

During his whole life, even when other honours were showered upon him, Dr Cooke prized perhaps, more highly than all, this recognition of his services on the part of the great American nation. Even until within a few years of his death he fondly cherished the hope of visiting America, and tendering to its noble people his thanks for their sympathy with him in his work, and for the reward they bestowed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Maiden City Festival

A bit late in posting this...

Maiden City Festival

General Lee lauds Ulster

No, not THE General Lee of the C.S.A. but his namesake some eighty years later...

August 7, 1945

Lieutenant-General J C H Lee, Commanding US Forces European Theatre, had sent a message which was read to a dinner given in the American Red Cross Club in Belfast to mark the completion of US Army operations in the province. He had been unable to attend personally as he had met with an accident while returning to England from Potsdam. His message declared: ''America's contribution to the defence of freedom was largely inspired by Ulstermen in response to their clear conscience and in keeping with the highest British tradition.'' The dinner was attended by several notable Ulster citizens including the Northern Ireland Premier and members of the cabinet, five US generals and the chiefs of the British Services, and saw the keys of Langford Lodge, the last US base in the province, handed over to a representative of the RAF. The message continued: ''It has been so fittingly appropriate for so many of the American Forces to be staged though Northern Ireland and to have landed first in Ulster for the crusade against Nazism and its intended enslavement of the world ''Countless families, including my own, left Ulster for America, fearlessly seeking the freedoms they were being denied but which soon followed them and has developed wherever the mother tongue was spoken.'' The connection between Ulster and America has been further strengthened, though our living together, training together,and fighting on to victory in a common cause.''

Sir Basil Brooke said that the men of the US Army would be welcomed back to Northern Ireland with open arms. He said: ''The greatest compliment you can pay is to come back with your wives and children as soon as transport will allow, not merely because you served here, but because you will be coming back to shake hands with your friends.''

News Letter, Saturday, August 7, 2010

As a footnote, the local Ulster TV produced a programme a year or so ago dealing with the closure of Langford Lodge and it showed how some Americans who had served in Ulster did indeed return to Ulster now and again. The programme took us to Florida to meet one of these men and he had the Ulster flag flying from his front porch.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ulster/Northern Ireland animated avatars

Here are a couple Ulster flags folks are free to use for pro-Ulster causes...

Northern Ireland flag

Ulster nationalist flag

Presbyterian settlers in the Colonial backcountry

'It's difficult to determinate the size of the various denominations. In 1710 Calvinists (Presbyterians, Huguenots, and Congregationalists) were the largest group (45 percent)...

The Scots-Irish settlers who migrated down the Great Wagon Road brought with them their Calvinist beliefs. They founded some twenty-one churches in the backcountry, some of which had sizable congregations. The Long Canes Church served five hundred families, which made it arguably the largest in the colony [of South Carolina]. Although successful at building churches, the Presbyterians were not able to obtain clergy to supply them. Only two of the twenty-one churches had ministers. The paucity of clergy hindered the Presbyterians' missionary efforts....'

-South Carolina: A History by Walter Edgar, University of South Carolina Press, 1998, pages 182-183

Click here for a map of Presbyterians in the US in the year 2000.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Origins of the Ulsterfolk

'Ulster's Celtic heritage is both unique and yet related to the outside influences of the neighbouring island of Britain and Southern Ireland. It was Ulsterfolk, in ancient times, that brought the Gaelic language into Scotland. It is in Scotland were the ancient Britons (Picts, Cruthin), united with their Celtic neighbours to form the nation of the 'Scotti', from whence the last settlers in Ireland the Ulster-Scots returned to Ulster. Making them not so much invaders but those returning to the lands of their ancestors.

Around 7,000 B.C. settlers crossed the narrow channel between Britain and Ulster to become Ireland's first inhabitants. Thirty centuries later they were peaceably joined by new settlers from what is now Scotland, who brought agriculture and commerce.'

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

European Pipe Band Championship

'The European Pipe Band Championship will be held on Saturday 31 July 2010 in the grounds of Stormont. Big crowds are expected and the normal 4 competing rings have had to be increased to 5 due to the number of bands taking part.

Belfast is to host the prestigious European Pipe Band Championships for the next three years. The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has confirmed that Belfast City Council's bid to host the championships from 2010 through to 2012 has been successful. It is estimated that the competition will attract around 90 top class international pipe bands from all over the world, bringing with them more than 25,000 competitors and spectators, and generating more than £1.3 million for the Belfast economy each year. “We are delighted to have been successful in bringing this prestigious international competition to the city for the next three years, and we look forward to hosting a series of highly successful championships between now and 2012,” commented Councillor Michael Browne, Chairman of the council`s Development Committee.

George Ussher, President of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, added: “I am thrilled that the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has been invited to hold the European Pipe Band Championships in Belfast 2010 to 2012. “I would congratulate Belfast City Council on the success of their bid and their support for the piping community. I look forward to bringing the very best pipe bands in the world to Belfast for these events, and know they will enjoy a warm welcome and some wonderful hospitality from the city of Belfast.”'

Monday, July 26, 2010

South Carolina and Ulster 2

Some of the Ulster Scots who settled in South Carolina. One of these families were the Brownlees.

Leading Confederate soldier in South Carolina, Captain John E. Brownlee,was the third generation descendent of Ulsterman James Brownlee who emigrated in 1768, arriving in Charlestown from Belfast on board the sailing ship Brigantine Lord Dungannon. The Brownlees settled in Abbeville in the South Carolina back country and John E's mother Rosa Pettigrew was a member of a family who had originally moved from Co Tyrone. His father John was a prime mover in the separation of South Carolina from the Union at the outset of war.

Captain Brownlee served in Company 1, 14th Regiment, McGowan's Brigade of Infantry, and after the war he remained an unrelenting advocate of the Confederate cause. He became a wealthy farmer and served on the Abbeville board of commissioners. He was prominently involved in the Masonic Order and a leader of the ''Red Shirts'' in opposing the Union occupation force in the years after the war.

Captain Brownlee is buried in the cemetery of Little Mountain Presbyterian Church near Abbeville, which his grandfather William Brownlee helped to build.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Ulster-Scots: Hospitality, morality & the Southern frontier

'On the South Carolina frontier, society was a bit rough. The Reverend Charles Woodmason, an itinerant Anglican missionary, found few people with any manners other than Joseph Kershaw of Camden. The "living and Behavior" or the "Irish Presbyterians," he wrote, were "as rude or more so than Savages." His own manners left something to be desired as he was openly contemptuous and disdainful of the people he was supposed to serve. When some offered him what limited hospitality they had, he rejected it out of hand as unworthy. In one of the rare recorded instances of lack of hospitality, a "Presbyterian tavern Keeper refused to sell Woodmason meat or drink. Given the priest's prior conduct, one wonders why he was outraged. In truth, what bothered Woodmason most was what he considered the loose moral of the backcountry folk. He roundly condemned their drinking and fornication. However, neither was confined to those who lived beyond the fall zone.'

-South Carolina: A History by Walter Edgar, University of South Carolina Press, 1998, page 186

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New England Ulster-Scots

'The amount of Scotch-Irish blood in New England is often under estimated. Many times, when we've traced an ancestor to Virginia or Pennsylvania, we may be wrong in assuming our next stop is the old country. Instead... it might be Vermont, Western Massachusetts, or Rhode Island that we are looking for. One reason that these people remain obscure is that those who stayed in New England assimilated into the prevailing culture. People today have forgotten that certain towns in New England were entirely founded by Ulster immigrants.'

Click here and here for more information on Ulster-Scots immigration to the New England area.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Highlander British Pub in North Augusta, SC

Here is a British pub in North Augusta I've gone to a few times. I like their sign because it has not only the Union Jack, but also the St George, St Andrew and St Patrick crosses. So I snapped a picture of it to share with y'all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

South Carolina and Ulster

The bonds between South Carolina and Ulster go back a couple of hundred years plus.

Newry, in the north-west of South Carolina was founded by Newry, Co Down man Captain William Ashmead Courtenay who was born in 1831 and whose father had emigrated from Ireland in 1791.

Courtenay was the Mayor of Charleston in South Carolina between 1879 and 1887. He and others formed the Courtenay Manufacturing Company in 1893 and built a mill on the Little River in Oconee County along with a village of around 50 cottages. On June 14,1894, the mill began to manufacture cotton cloth. In time, the settlement grew to around 85 houses, two churches and a post office and company store. Although there is little detail about Captain Courtenay's father, it is believed that he named the area Newry in honour of the town his father had left in Co Down.

The mill owner died in 1908 and his sons continued to manage the mill until around 1920. Operations continued at Newry until July 1975, while the houses were sold to the residents in 1959. The closure of the mill had not a unexpected impact on the community, many moving away for work to other towns where the company operated cotton mills. In 1980, Newry had a population of just 250 and in the 1990s a deputation from Newry and Mourne District Council visited the South Carolina township to develop a civic link.

As urbanisation and industrial production progressed in the United States, much of the trail of the Ulster settlers was lost.

Long Canes in South Carolina had townships originally named Londonderry, Hillsborough and Belfast. There is an Antrim Lane outside Clover in South Carolina. In more recent times a business park Antrim Business Park was built and is located at Rock Hill. The business park took its name largely due to the connection between the area and Larne in Co Antrim, which is twinned with nearby York County in South Carolina.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Euro experts blow to Executive language strategy

'A European committee of linguistic experts has criticised the NI Executive's treatment of both Irish and Ulster-Scots... Its focus is ensuring that the languages are treated according to their respective standing - Irish has currently reached Part III protection under the European Charter, while Ulster-Scots' development is a stage behind.'

Saturday, July 17, 2010

South Carolina & Ulster flags flying proudly

Today, I'm flying the palmetto flag (of my country) as usual and also the Ulster flag (of my heritage), given to me in Belfast a couple years ago. Folks ought to be able to tell where I stand!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ulstermen in WWI

"I am not an Ulsterman but yesterday, the 1st July 1916, as I followed their amazing attack, I felt that I would rather be an Ulsterman than anything else in the world."

-Cpt. W Spender

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Orange lodges celebrate Twelfth

'Tens of thousands of Orangemen and many more supporters have turned out for the annual Twelfth demonstrations across Northern Ireland.... In keeping with efforts to present the annual holiday, the high point of the loyalist marching season, the occasion was presented as an “Orangefest” – a cultural event emphasising the Ulster Scots tradition.'

Rioters try to spoil Twelfth of July

It seems that those who hate Ulster culture and heritage will go to any length - even violence and destruction of property - to gain attention for their cause. This is very sad. A free Catholic-dominated Irish state has existed for quite a while now and no one is trying to take that away. So, why in Ulster must the majority population be pushed into the sea in order to satisfy violent thugs and opportunist politicians? Why can't Ulster men and women celebrate their culture and heritage without being attacked by criminal street punks? Why must policemen who are just doing their job to maintain order for those taking part in the celebrations be assaulted by criminals in masks who fancy themselves as "revolutionaries"?

'Tuesday night's incidents brought the total number of injured police officers to 82 over the past two days. In north Belfast a policewoman was rushed to hospital after being struck with a piece of masonry during riots in the Ardoyne area. Meanwhile in the south of the city petrol bombs were thrown at police and burning wheelie bins were used to blockade the Ormeau Road. In Londonderry a masked man opened fire on police during a riot in the Bogside, where youths also threw petrol bombs at PSNI vehicles. The week leading up to the parades saw sporadic riots at flashpoints across Belfast. Three officers were injured - one of them hospitalised - after a masked man with a shotgun opened fire in North Queen Street. Police tackled ongoing disorder in the Broadway area with water cannons, which were used to keep up to 200 nationalist youths armed with petrol bombs and missiles at bay.'

Thursday, July 8, 2010

While wearing an Ulster shirt...

Today, I wore an Ulster shirt given to me by a friend while visiting Belfast. I went to youth camp in South Carolina and while eating supper one of the councilors of the event commented on my shirt (everyone seemed to notice it but only two people commented on it). He asked me about it and I began telling him of my trip there. When I mentioned how pro-South the folks in Belfast I met are, he commented, "Well, of course. Our ancestors come from there." Another councilor came over and joined the conversation and began telling how the Scots moved to Ulster and then how many of them moved to America - especially the South. We talked about the Red Hand of Ulster and discussed the subject for several minutes, each one adding something different about the connections between Ulster and Dixie. It was an interesting experience I thought I'd share with y'all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The president and the Scots-Irish generals

This author got it wrong on whether or not McChrystal was to be fired, but included this interesting thought...

'There’s something about presidents and Army generals with Scots-Irish surnames in wartime. President Abraham Lincoln had trouble with General George McClellan during the Civil War, Harry Truman had trouble with Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War, and now Barack Obama faces trouble with Stanley McChrystal during the Afghan War.''

Monday, July 5, 2010

Veneration and awe for the Ulster-Scots

"I love Highlanders, and I love Lowlanders, but when I come to that branch of our race that has been grafted on to the Ulster stem I take off my hat in veneration and awe."

-Lord Rosebery

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ulster Museum in Belfast wins £100,000 Art Fund Prize

'The Belfast museum beat three other short-listed institutions, including the UK's oldest museum, the Ashmolean in Oxford, as well as Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry. Tim Cooke, Director of National Museums Northern Ireland, said, “This is the first time in Northern Ireland’s history that a prestigious cultural prize of this nature has been awarded to an institution in the region."'

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ulster-Scot McDowell no longer under the radar after US Open victory

'McDowell started playing golf at age 8 on the links courses of his native Northern Ireland. He suggested the background made him feel comfortable at cool and breezy Pebble Beach, even if the wind never gusted too strongly during the Open.

His story smacks of modest roots and sporting persistence. He grew up in the small seaside town of Portrush, where both of his parents, Ken and Marian, worked full time. McDowell's mom reportedly is nursing multiple sclerosis and watched Sunday's final round from Spain.'

Friday, June 25, 2010

'Flagship' Twelfth at Portrush

'The seaside resort of Portrush is the venue for the County Londonderry Twelfth this year. The big day on Monday, July 12, will be the culmination of Coleraine Twelfth Festival which runs from Saturday, July 3 and includes street entertainment, a historical re-enactment and an Ulster-Scots concert. The Twelfth celebrations in Coleraine in 2008 attracted 60,000 visitors to the town and it is expected that the crowds in Portrush this year will rival that number... There will also be a wealth of information about Ulster-Scots culture. The colourful pageant of the Twelfth will be led by King Billy on horse-back, accompanied by his foot soldiers, a junior William and Mary and the Ulster-Scots ship complete with 18th century emigrants.'

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why must McCausland apologise?

Here is an editorial which appeared in the Belfast Telegraph calling for McCausland to apologise for his urging of the Ulster Museum to include more information on the Ulster-Scots, the Orange Order and Creationism. Why must the man apologise for voicing his own viewpoint? And why must he say that his views are his own? Of course, they are his own. Whose else would they be?

'Mr McCausland's letter concerns me. He should apologise and state that his views are his own and should not have been pushed on the secular community.'

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Saunt Petherick's Journey (Saint Patrick's Journey)

Here's a fun page that the BBC has made, telling a bit of the history of St Patrick and Ulster in the Ulster-Scots language. It's mostly for the youngins, it would seem, but I still enjoyed it.

Not everyone likes it. This piece from the Belfast Telegraph is quite critical of it.

What do y'all think? Personally, I like it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ulster-Scot ethnic consciousness around the world

'There's a growing ethnic consciousness of Ulster Scot or Scotch-Irish ancestry in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, where both Scottish and Irish settlement took place in the expansion of British rule in these areas. Despite their descendants, if they knew their Ulster-Scot ancestry, were somewhat incorrectly identified simply as "Irish", "Scottish" or "British" for a long period of time, although it should be noted that in America the Ulster emigrants usually called themselves "Irish". And in the turn of the 20th century, several thousands of Ulster Scots migrated to Argentina, where a large British descent community thrives includes Ulster Scots, but not clearly known how many persons of Ulster Scottish ancestry are in Argentina.'

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Another steady performance by the Bready Ulster Scots Pipe Band

'The band were drawn last to play in their grade and were the only band in their grade to play in the torrential rain that fell that day. The Piping was judged by Pipe Major Richard Parkes from the Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe band and out of the 10 bands competing in the grade he felt the Band worthy of second place behind Moneygore. The Bready Drum Corps secured a 3rd place and put in another steady performance.'

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Belfast Hunting Club

Two folks in my family are members of the Belfast Hunting Club in South Carolina. I thought it was a cool connection to Ulster. They put these plates on the front of their trucks to identify members.

'Belfast plantation, 6000 acre estate of Judge and Mrs. H. M. Lightsey, of Columbia and Allendale County, is situated approximately fifteen miles west of the town of Allendale within an angle formed by the convergence of Lower Three Runs and the great Savannah River.... Records reveal that in the year 1744, an Irish gentleman by the name of Scarborough came to America from Belfast, Ireland, in search of property. It was he who acquired numerous small tracts from owners who had grants from the King of England, and welded them together in the formation of a huge estate which he called "Belfast" for his beloved home land.'

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Growing awareness of ties between Ulster and America

This article is somewhat dated but full of good information...

'Anyone who spends much time in the book shops of Northern Ireland, keeps up with the popular press there, or becomes acquainted with the activities of its local historical societies or the Ulster-Scots Agency (a government-funded body set up in 1999 as an outgrowth of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement) begins to discover an extensive popular literature and awareness on Ulster people who went to North America in the 18th or early 19th century and contributed to the developing new country of the United States of America.'

New identity allows Pubs of Ulster to broaden their public perception

'Local pubs are set to reinforce their contribution to the hospitality, leisure, and tourism sector by uniting under a new trade body identity. The Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade (FRLT) has announced that from today it will become known as Pubs of Ulster.'

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Davy Crockett's Ulster connections

One of my boyhood heroes was Davy Crockett, "King of the Wild Frontier" as the song went. A frontiersman, US Congressman and hero of the Battle of the Alamo, David Crockett is the sort of immortal figure in history who doesn't come along very often. As such, he has inspired generation after generation.

There's also an Ulster connection to Davy Crockett that many people may not be aware of...

'David Crockett was born near the Nolichucky River in what is now Greene County, Tennessee. A replica of his birthplace cabin stands in Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park on the Nolichucky River near Limestone, Tennessee. The Crockett family derived their name from Monsieur de la Croquetagne, a captain in the Royal Guard of French King Louis XIV. The family converted to Protestantism and as Huguenots fled France in the 17th century, settling in the north of Ireland. Family tradition says that David Crockett's father was born on the voyage to America from Ireland, though in fact Crockett's great-grandfather, William David Crockett, was registered as having been born in New Rochelle, New York in 1709.'

What the article here calls "the north of Ireland" is in fact Ulster, of course. It's interesting how his family went from France to Ulster to New York to Tennessee and ultimately Davy was killed at the Alamo in Texas, the climax of an amazing life.

Amber (the horse) and the Ulster flag

This is a picture I snapped the other day when Amber, always curious, walked over and wanted to see what I was up to.

Friday, June 11, 2010

South East Antrim Ulster-Scots mural

South East Antrim Ulster-Scots mural.

Click here for more 'Hope and Glory' marching band artwork. They do some really nice work as you can see from the many pictures on their site.

Food fight as rival erupts after Ulster chef named Ireland’s best

'One is head chef at a much-loved restaurant in rural Northern Ireland. The other is a Michelin-starred chef with premises in an affluent Dublin suburb. But temperatures reached boiling point when the Ulster chef Danny Millar walked away with the top prize in the culinary version of the Oscars, leaving Michelin-starred Oliver Dunne choking on his after-dinner mints. Dunne’s sour grapes episode happened after Millar, from Balloo House in Co Down, was named Best Irish Chef at the prestigious Irish Restaurant Awards in Dublin on Wednesday night. But Millar’s victory was too hard to swallow for Dubliner Dunne, who said he would boycott the event in the future due to changes in the judging system.'

Congrats to Mr Millar! I'd love to visit his restaurant one day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ulster Connections (video)

What is Ullans?

Ullans is a variety of Scots language spoken in Ulster. The word is similar to "lallans" - a variant of the Scots word lawlands (“lowlands of Scotland"). Lallans used to refer to the Scots language traditionally spoken in Lowland Scotland. Scots is a Germanic language closely related to English and descended from northern dialects of Old English.

Here's a bit more information on the subject...

'The accent in the northern counties of Ulster is defined by its Scots accent and vocabulary. Many people from this region visiting other parts of the English speaking world are often mistaken as being from Scotland.

While broad Ulster-Scots is only spoken in rural communities, especially in Donegal's Laggan district, everyone in Ulster uses some of its words and phrases in everyday speech (example: the word "wee" is used to mean many things, from a term of endearment, to a description of small size).'

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Ulster-Scots people (audio)

This audio piece was recorded by a Belfast friend of mine speaking about the unique Ulster-Scots people and our heritage.

Click here for the audio

Jim Shannon's Ulster-Scots maiden speech

'Mr Shannon, who says he is not a fluent speaker of Ulster-Scots but is a keen enthusiast, provided a translation for his fellow MPs. "Having had the opportunity to acknowledge and express my Ulster Scots roots and thanking the Speaker for his tolerance, I'll say it so you can all understand me," he said. "There are many good things that I could say about the people of my constituency, but first of all I count it a great honour to speak on their behalf in the House of Commons.'

Click here for the video of Mr Shannon delivering the historic words before the House of Commons. Hopefully the speech will inspire further effort to save and promote the language. Congrats, Mr Shannon, and well done!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ulster-Scots in Maine

'The Maine Ulster Scots Project is sponsored by the Saint Andrew's Society of Maine. Its mission is to gather and save the stories of Maine's Ulster Scots (Scots-Irish) families and to periodically publish and otherwise share that information with the public and with Maine's students.'

The site has gotten some attention as well. Here's an article about it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ulster-Scots settle the South Carolina backcountry

'In addition to those who came into South Carolina through Charleston, there were some who came down the Great Wagon Road that ran from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia into the piedmont of the two Carolinas. Their numbers were insignificant in comparison with the thousands of Scots-Irish who began moving into South Carolina in the 1750s. The Scots-Irish who moved to the South Carolina frontier were descendants of Scots Protestants who originally settled in northern Ireland in the seventeenth century. When the Church of England began to press for conformity, the independent-minded folks now called Scots-Irish immigrated to Pennsylvania so that they could worship as they saw fit. They settled on the Pennsylvania frontier, where they came into conflict with both the Indians and the Quaker government in Philadelphia. As far as the government of Pennsylvania was concerned, the Indians were not a problem, but the Scots-Irish were. Unhappy with conditions in Pennsylvania, Scots-Irish families began to trek southward to the Carolinas.

For those who came from southeastern Pennsylvania, the journey was about 475 miles. All along the route settlers from Maryland and Virginia joined the group moving to the piedmont of the two Carolinas. They settled above the fall zone in an arc that stretched from present-day Lancaster County on the North Carolina border to Abbeville County on the Savannah River. They established settlements in the Waxhaws, and area claimed by both South and North Carolina, and along Long Cane Creek, a tributary of the Savannah. Very few, if any, sought land in townships, and none was created for them.

By not fitting into the plan for the orderly settlement of the frontier, the Scots-Irish disrupted a process that had been in effect for a generation. The places they chose to settle also brought them into conflict with Cherokee land claims. It is no wonder, then, that their relationship with the government in Charleston was a stormy one. Part of the difficulty was due to differences in ethnicity and religion.

The Reverend Charles Woodmason, and Anglican missionary, described the Waxhaws in 1767: "This is a very fruitful Spot, thro' which the dividing Line between North and South Carolina runs - The Heads of P.D. [Peedee River], Lynch's Creek, and many other Creeks take their Rise in this Quarter - so that a finer Body of Land is no where to be seen - But it is occupied by a Sett of the most lowest vilest Crew breathing - Scotch Irish Presbyterians from the North of Ireland." While Woodmason's hostility might be traced to his personal difficulties with some backcountry settlers, his disdain for the Scots-Irish reflects his own ethnic and religious biases - biases that were shared, in large measure by most white lowcountry residents.

The ill will that was generated by the mass migration of Scots-Irish into the backcountry was not felt by Scots-Irish who had come to South Carolina within a few years after the township plan was announced. In 1732 a group settled in Williamsburg Township, and from their angry letters it appears that they wanted the township for themselves. However, grants of choice lands had been made to Charleston merchants and lawyers. With the introduction of indigo in the 1740s. Williamsburg would become the most prosperous of the townships. The Scots-Irish were a tightly knit group united by "their National Adherence to each other," family ties and membership in the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church. Kingston was another township with a sizable Scots-Irish population. As in Williamsburg, the Presbyterian church helped strengthen the bonds of the community.'

South Carolina: A History by Walter Edgar, University of South Carolina Press, pages 56-58

NI MP to use Ulster-Scots in speech to House of Commons

'The words of one new Northern Ireland MP will face a closer examination than most when he delivers his maiden speech in the House of Commons. For Strangford representative Jim Shannon says he will be the first person to speak Ulster-Scots at Westminster when it happens. The DUP MP approached one of the speakers at the Houses of Parliament earlier this month about the prospect of using some of the dialect in his maiden speech. He said it was at the speaker's discretion, but that a few sentences would be allowed.

"We do all speak the English language and we do express it well and are knowledgeable in it," he said. "But this is an opportunity to present my culture and heritage and I have had quite a lot of encouragement from a number in my constituency who are very keen to see my Ulster-Scots history and language on the floor of the Houses of Parliament.'

Sunday, June 6, 2010

From Ulster to New Zealand

Here are a few sources of information on the numbers and nature of Ulster migration to New Zealand.

'In the nineteenth century, Ireland sent a fifth or more of all Europeans who went to New Zealand. With the Scots, they contributed almost half of the total settler population, and Ulster yielded the largest provincial Irish stream.'

'Ulster provided a very significant part of the Irish inflow, and it became more significant as time progressed. By the eve of the Great War those from Ulster comprised about 56% of Irish immigrants. Between a fifth and a quarter of the Ulster settlers were Catholic; and among the Protestants the numbers of Presbyterians increased over time. The increasing proportion of the Irish deriving from Ulster in part reflected the preference for Protestants among New Zealand immigration authorities.'

'Ties between New Zealand and Ulster are close, according to Dr Billy Kelly of the University’s Institute of Ulster-Scots Studies, based at the Magee campus. “A considerable number of New Zealand’s Irish migrants, some say up to half, have come from Ulster. “While it has been assumed that the majority Protestants, Ulster Scots who were quickly absorbed into the ‘British’ settler population, thereby losing their cultural identity, the reality is arguably more complex. “Just how far Ulster/New Zealand migration constituted a transfer of Ulster Scots culture to the New World, as well as the often ignored contributions of Ulster settlers from other cultural and religious groups, is an import, but as yet under-explored field of study.”'

Why this blog? Why Ulster Connections?

As a South Carolinian who found out about my Ulster-Scots ancestry rather late in life I felt deprived somewhat, spending all those years rather confused about my heritage. There is widespread confusion in America among people of Ulster-Scots (or more commonly called "Scots-Irish" or Scotch-Irish" in the States) background. Having lived in America for as long as we have (most of our ancestors having crossed the Atlantic and settled in the New World in the 1700's) and being so instrumental in the founding of "America" as we know her, many Ulster-Scots Americans have lost or partially lost their identity and family memory of their roots in Ulster. Some of these folks mistakenly believe themselves to be just "Irish" - as I did for most of my childhood and even into university years. For those who examine it carefully, they'll find, for instance, that their ancestors have been in the New World so long while most Irish Catholics are relative new-comers. Yet most people do not delve into the question deeply.

A few years ago I began studying my own heritage more thoroughly and especially the Ulster-Scots connections. My mother's side of the family are McClains from North Carolina long ago, who at least in recent family memory (going back into the late 1800's) have lived in southern Georgia with other people like themselves. Being very poor farmers who barely scratched out a living on the edges of the Okefenokee Swamp for generation after generation with others of similar surnames, appearance, values, etc., you can see how confusion would set in after a while as to their origins long ago. The more I dug, the more connections I saw between our family and those like us throughout North America (though mostly centered in the South and Appalachia) and even back across the Atlantic in Ulster.

While working for a few years in Europe, I was able to visit Ulster and there met people very much like myself - people with a fierce sense of loyalty, honour, family pride and a communion with the soil and country itself. I traveled around Ulster with a friend from Belfast and we saw the ancestral homes of Stonewall Jackson and Andrew Jackson. We visited Londonderry and there I marched alongside the men in Orange (who came from across Ulster, Scotland and from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, North America and Africa) across the bridge and through that historic town which was laid siege in 1688-1689. I drank beers with folks in small neighbourhood pubs in Belfast and other towns, sharing conversation with people who constantly reminded me of my own culture back in South Carolina.

So that is sort of a round-about way of explaining why this blog exists. I would like to see more connections built and more awareness of our common ancestry as Ulster-Scots and Ulsterfolk no matter where we may be living in the world today. Our ancestors who were so instrumental in the founding of not just Ulster but also many other countries are a largely forgotten and ignored people today. The heritage and history of other peoples are routinely celebrated while ours is not. This is something we can correct. And that is why we're here. I hope you enjoy this blog!