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

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."'