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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Billy Ray Cyrus tells the story of the Ulster-Scots/Scots-Irish in 4 minutes. From Scotland to Ulster then onto America.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ulster 1912

The loyalists of Ulster organise against the Westminster Goverment

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ulster Day 2012

A few pictures from the Ulster Day parades, dressed in the attire of 1912

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


From a booklet about the Elliots one of the Border Reiver clans.

The death of Elizabeth 1 set the Borders alight. Both Scots and English tried to do as much damage as possible to each other without fear of retribution. Robert Ellot,17th Chief,invaded England with almost 400 horsemen carrying battle flags. Several other clans followed their example. Unfortunately James succeeded to the united throne much faster than anticipated and declared the Borders were no longer the extremities of the two kingdoms but the middle of one United Kingdom. All laws and usage of the Borders were declared finished and the peculiar justiciary system that had existed for over 400 hundred years was swept away. James V1, that ungainly,unlikely King,succeeded in pacifying the Borders as he had the Highlands where his predecessors had failed.

The King's authority was stamped on the Borders and the first crop of executions resulted in thirty two Elliots,Armstrongs,and Johnsons going to the gallows. Iron gates were ordered removed from the old peel towers and turned into plough shares,arms were banned,and horses forbidden to have saddles. Forcible emigration to Ulster began,as did the transportation overseas for the King declared, ''the most notorious and lewd persons on the Middle March are to be sent to Virginia''.

The Elliots had fought in more than their fair share of all the Border battles. They were to suffer most in the forcible pacification that followed. Thirty of their towers in Liddesdale were destroyed. One third of all Borderers banished from Scotland were Elliots and over 3,500 of the name were living in Ulster in 1900.

Many were transported to the Virginian plantations. The last major hanging of Border reivers took place in 1609,and when the Elliots made a final raid against the Robsons in Tynedale in 1611 this really marked the end of a traditional way of life.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Other Protestant Exodus

It is fairly well known about the emigration of Protestants (mostly Presbyterians) to America in the 1700s. However, a later emigration took place in the 1800s. Whether the figures below are taken seperately or inclusively there was still around 100,000 who emigrated in this period.

Some of the Protestant clergy,said his Lordship,were suffering the greatest privations,others were assassinated in open day; in many parts of the country the houses of the Protestant gentry and farmers were fortified against the attacks of midnight murderers; and arms were plundered at hours when suspicion herself was off her guard - when men were engaged in the labours of the field or attending on the worship of God.

The Roman Catholics had become armed. The Protestants scarely dared to venture from their homes after sunset;they feared to transact their business in the fair or market;they were waylaid,insulted,beaten and robbed,or assassinated on their return. To such an extant had these sufferings pressed on the people of the Reformed Churches in Ireland that more than 60,000 of them had fled to America since the passing of the Emancipation Bill. Yet,the loyalty of  Protestants and Orangemen was unimparied and unimpeachable,and for the Protestant successor of William of Glorious Memory they would have joyfully laid down their fortunes and their lives. Finally Lord Roden urged English and Welsh Protestants to petition the Throne on behalf of their brethren in Ireland. The appeal was generously responded to; and numerous petitions were presented to Parliament. This was the sad picture of Ireland three years after the Emancipation Act! VOL 2 Page 89 Emancipation Act was in 1829

The reign of terror was,indeed so great that in the three years from 1829 at least 94.000 Protestants fled from Ireland to Canada and the United States of America. They had no resource bur emigration,for in addition to the reign of terror they were badly treated by the Government. The practice,too,of many landlords was to value a tenant not because of his loyalty and industry,but according to the amount of rent he promised to pay,let him be Whiteboy,Blackfoot,Steelboy or Ribbonman. 1 Dublin University Magazine, May 1832. VOL 2 Page 108


The Methodism Connection in Ireland comprehends forty-nine Circuits,and eighteen mission stations; one hundred and sixty Preachers,including the Missionaries,and those who are on the supernumerary list; and twenty-six thousand two hundred and forty-four members of society. To some persons this number will appear small;but the reason is obvious..incessant political agitation. There is another cause to which few people duly advert. In many parts of Ireland the law is comparatively powerless,and fails to afford adequate protection to either the lives or the property of the Protestants, Hence the frequency of Protestant emigration. Within the last fifteen years no fewer than ten thousand members of the Methodist societies in Ireland have left their native country,and sought a more safe and quiet residence in other lands mostly in America. Not a few of these were as the life-blood of the societies to which they belonged. They were generally men of property,the support and stay of the cause in their different localities; and in several instances their removal has led to the withdrawal of the preaching,and the consequent dissolution of the societies and congregations. These upright and devoted men have meekly endured privations and opposition;but their ''judgement is with the Lord, and their work with their God. Pages 173-174

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ulster and founding of the American nation

Some words from 'The Ulster People' by Dr Ian Adamson.

By the end of 1775 at least a quarter of a million Ulster men ans women had left over a period of 58 years,and according to some estimates,formed one sixth of the total population of the American Colonies.

John Logan the Provincial Secretary,had originally invited his fellow Ulstermen to Pennsylvania but soon complained that ''a settlement of five families from the north of Ireland gives me more trouble than fifty of any other people''' He found the Ulster-Scots ''troublesome settlers to the government and hard neighbours to the Indians.''

Indeed the first armed clash to procede the Revolutionary War occurred in 1771 when Ulster-Scots settlers fought British forces on the Alamance River in North Carolina. On 20 May 1775 they were the most prominent signatories of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence drawn up in Charlotte,North Carolina. They subsquently supported the Declaration of Independence passed by the Continental Congress on 4 July 1776 and they composed the flower and backbone of Washington's army in the Revolutionary War which followed. Their cause was advocated by the 'Belfast News Letter' and the contemporary Harcourt wrote  that ''The Presbyterians in the north are in their hearts Americans.''. A German captain who fought alongside the British redcoats was quite explicit: ''Call this war by whatever name you may,only call it not an American rebellion;it is nothing more or less tha a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian rebellion.''

The Offical Declaration of Independence was written in the handwriting of Charles Thompson from Maghera,printed by John Dunlap from Strabane,given its first public reading by the son of an Ulsterman,Colonel John Nixon,and among the signatories the following ,all either born in Ulster,or born to Ulster parents - John Hancock,President of the Congress,Thomas McKean,Thomas Nelson,Robert Paine,Edward Rutledge,George Taylor,Matthew Thornton and William Whipple. The great seal of the United States - an eagle holding arrows and a branch - was designed by Charles Thompson.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy Twelfth, Ulster!

I wish I were in Ulster to celebrate with y'all!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Just a reminder that this is the 100th Anniversary of the Ulster Covenant.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Broken String Band

This is a clip of them on the famous Derry's Walls with the Guildhall in the background. They are a local group from around the Co Down area...i think


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'Highland' connections to North Carolina

Another reminder of the Scottish and Ulster-Scots ancestry of large numbers of Southerners can be found in a small brewing company in Asheville, North Carolina. The Appalachians are historically the area of the South which has the highest concentration of Celtic Southerners and where the influence of the Ulster-Scots has been the greatest. It's appropriate then that a local brewing company would pay homage to this legacy. The Highland brand is sold in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. It features a Scotsman in traditional dress on the front of its beers and uses the trademark 'Just a wee bit different' on its products. Being a big fan of tasty, dark beers, I decided to pick up a few of their Black Mocha Stouts. Here is the description of this beverage from their website:
Highland’s most robust beer, having a very malty body with a large, roasted chocolate flavor, all achieved solely through the use of special roasted barley grains. It is black in color with a very clean finish and moderate hop flavor.

While the porter style was developing, some brewers produced a stout porter and over time generated a new style known simply as stout. These beers traditionally contain a distinct roasted malt flavor and can run the gamut from a dry stout, such as Guinness to a sweet stout such as Watney’s Cream Stout. Our Black Mocha falls in the sweet stout range and derives its chocolate and coffee tones from the use of appropriate roasted malt grains and is very often used as an after dinner libation or an accompaniment to dessert.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Anger As Scots-Irish Is Dropped From US Census

Unionist MP's anger as US drops 'Scots-Irish' term from census listDUP MP Gregory Campbell has written to the US Ambassador to object to the removal of Scots-Irish as a distinct ancestry by the USA Census Bureau. Individuals in the USA who report themselves as Scots-Irish in the American Community Survey will now be included in the 'other groups' category.The census data will retain distinct categories for Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh.

The Scots-Irish, referred to in the British Isles as Ulster-Scots, are the descendants of those who came to Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century. Mr Campbell said: "I have written to the US Ambassador in London, Mr Louis Susman, requesting that the US government reverse this decision and continue to have Scots-Irish available in US census data. "I have also informed Scotland's Westminster Members of Parliament about this matter." "I indicated to the US Ambassador that it is an historical fact that immigrants of Scottish descent from the Ulster region of Ireland settled and helped to establish and build the United States of America.

"Scots-Irish descendents have made a significant contribution to society since the foundation of the USA in areas such as music, film, military and political life of the nation. There have been numerous famous Scots-Irish among 17 US Presidents." The East Londonderry MP also indicated that the tourism industry in Northern Ireland might suffer as a result of the decision. "Much of the tourism between the USA and Northern Ireland has been aimed at the Scots-Irish because of the ancestry links. "People from a Scots-Irish descent in the USA are a separate ancestry as distinct from an Irish descent."
It is estimated that at least 200,000 Scots-Irish emigrated to North America, primarily during the colonial era. Many figures in US history have come from the Scots-Irish, including three Presidents whose parents were born in Ulster. Andrew Jackson's parents emigrated from Boneybefore in Co Antrim; James Buchanan's parents were from near Omagh, and the father of Chester Alan Arthur emigrated from Cullybackey, Co Antrim. Read more:


Monday, January 2, 2012

Woodrow Wilson..The Ulster Connection

The Wilson House, near Strabane, County Tyrone, was the home of James Wilson, grandfather of President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States of America. This house, owned by the Ulster American Folk Park, is maintained in its original setting in the townland of Dergalt, two miles out of Strabane on the Plumbridge Road. It is open to the public from 2pm to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday inclusive, during July, August and the beginning of September (get closer by clicking the images).

James Wilson was a printer by trade. In 1807 he emigrated to America from the port of Londonderry, landing at Philadelphia. In time he became a prominent newspaperman, working on the Democratic newspaper the ‘Aurora’, the ‘Western Herald and Steubenville Gazette’, before founding the ‘Pennsylvania Advocate’.By 1816, James was involved in politics and served in the Ohio Legislature from 1816 to 1817. Although not a lawyer, he was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and because of this, he was known in later life as ‘Judge Wilson’.

James Wilson married Ann Adams in Philadelphia in 1808. She is reputed to have come from Sion Mills, County Tyrone. They had ten children, the youngest of whom, Joseph Ruggles, was born in Steubenville in 1822. He became a Presbyterian minister and married Jessie Woodrow from Carlisle, England. Their third child grew up to become President Woodrow Wilson.