Monday, 14 February 2011

Ulster Scots blogs

I've stumbled across a blog by Mark Thompson of the Ulster Scots Agency, which may be of interest to those interested in the dialect of Scots in the north of Ireland. It can be read at and is called Bloggin fae the Burn. His latest post is about a book, One Hundred Scotch Hymns and Poems (Chiefly in the Scotch Dialect), Edinburgh 1881.

As someone from the Protestant community of south Antrim, I've never been remotely interested in the political side of Ulster Scots ("They've got Irish, so we're having Ullans"), but I am fascinated by the fact that my lot from Perth had a similar but different dialect and turn of phrase to my lot in Ulster. My own everyday use of English is full of local Scots terms used when I was a kid, which are every bit as legitimate in a living language as they once were in the past. My boys are often told off for being 'cheeky hallions' and if they are good they get a 'poke' (ice cream!) from the 'pokey van'! Except here in Scotland, a 'poke' is what you get chips in! (Both refer to a cone, and come from Gaelic, 'poca').

The Scots did bring Scottish Gaelic to Ulster with them also, but not in anywhere like the numbers of Lallans speakers. In my home town of Carrickfergus the Scottish fishermen of the Scotch Quarter had such a different dialect to the Irish Gaels in the Irish Quarter that both found it difficult to communicate with each other. And try reading something written in the Gaelic of Rathlin, and you'll see a very strong Scottish influence - as much as you'll see the Irish influence on Islay ('gun robh math agad', instead of 'tapadh leat' for 'thank you' etc). I won't be volunteering a Scottish Gaelic revival in Ulster though! lol

Mark has listed several other Ulster Scots blogs on his site, which may also be of interest:

At Hame
Balmoral Perspective
FuseFM Ballymoney
Good Night Safe Hame
Nelson's View
Newton Lass
North Antrim Speak
North Antrim Ulster Scots
Ullans Blog
Ullans Centre Ballymoney
Ullans Rhymes
Ulster Scots Rhymes
Ulster-Scots Journal

I've not yet considered their content, but they may also be of interest.

(With thanks to the Kentucky Historical Society on Twitter @KyHistSoc)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

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