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

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.'