and Other New Publications
Richard K. MacMaster
The Ulster-Scots Agency (aka The
Boord o Ulster-Scotch) recently published the first issue of a bi-monthly
news magazine The Ulster-Scot and several leaflets telling the
story of the Scotch-Irish in America. The Ulster-Scots Agency is a
government bureau with the assignment to promote the language and culture
of the Ulster-Scots at home and abroad. Copies of all their publications
are available free of charge on request. On this side of the Atlantic, the
Center for Scotch-Irish Studies published the latest issue of The
Journal of Scotch-Irish Studies and mailed copies to subscribers in
December. These new publications are all signs of increasing interest in
the Scotch-Irish heritage.
Front page news in The
Ulster-Scot, November-December 2002, is an announcement of a musical
drama about 18th-century emigration from Ulster to North America that will
have its premiere performance at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast next Spring.
After that, there are plans to bring it to major cities in Canada and the
United States. "On Eagle's Wing" has a cast of 300 singers, dancers and
instrumentalists. John Anderson, who wrote the script, is quoted as
saying: "There are two sides to the story: the Scots who came to Ulster
from the 1500s onward and then emigrated again further afield, and the
Scots who stayed in Ulster."
Other news stories recount the
future of marching bands, new recordings of Ulster traditional music, and
Northern Ireland pipe band contests. Feature articles include a
fascinating look at one of the "weaver poets," James Orr of Ballycarry, a
report on Ulster-Scot musical influences in America, a profile of James
Fenton, a pioneer in the Ulster-Scots revival, and the special flavor of a
Burns Supper. There is also news about the Institute of Ulster-Scots
Studies at the University of Ulster in Londonderry and the Ulster-Scots
Editor of The Ulster-Scot is
Billy Kennedy, veteran Belfast journalist and author of a series of books
on the Ulster-Scots in America that have been widely read in Northern
Ireland and in this country. The second issue is scheduled to appear at
the end of January 2003 and future issues every two months thereafter.
Subscriptions are free. For more information, write The Ulster-Scots
Agency, Franklin House, 10-12 Brunswick Street, Belfast BT2 7GE, Northern
Ireland, or e-mail them at
Billy Kennedy is the principal
author of a series of handsomely-printed illustrated leaflets about the
Scotch-Irish in America. There are eight titles in all, released together
in a carrying case. "Voyage to the New World" is centered on how the
Ulster-Scots or Scotch-Irish came to America. "Ulster-Scots and
Washington's Generals" deals with the Scotch-Irish contribution to winning
American independence. "Ulster-Scots and the Declaration of Independence"
is focused on Ulster influences and Ulster-born signers of the
Declaration. "Ulster-Scots and United States Presidents" tells about the
seventeen American presidents whose ancestors came from Northern Ireland.
"Ulster-Scots and the Presbyterian Church" is an exposition of the close
ties between the Scotch-Irish and the growth of the Presbyterian Church in
On a lighter note, "From Folk to
Country" tells how the Scotch-Irish influenced American music. The final
leaflet in the packet deals with "The Ulster-Scots Legacy" with brief
biographical sketches of several 19th-century Americans of Scotch-Irish
background, among them Mark Twain, Cyrus McCormick, and Thomas Mellon.
These leaflets are an easy introduction to the heritage of the
Scotch-Irish. (The Ulster-Scots Agency also has a leaflet on how to plan a
Burns Nicht that might be helpful in planning for next January.) They are
all available free from the Ulster-Scots Agency at the above addresses.
The Winter 2002 issue of The
Journal of Scotch-Irish Studies has a variety of scholarly articles on
Scotch-Irish topics, including history, identity, travel, and genealogy.
Five articles deal with aspects of American history. The effort of Indian
traders George Galphin and John Rea to attract settlers from Ulster to the
18th-century South Carolina and Georgia backcountry is explored by
Professor Michael P. Morris of the University of South Carolina. Professor
Carole Watterson Troxler of Elon University traces the Scotch-Irish in the
Southern backcountry who took the side of the King in the American
Revolution, particularly South Carolina Loyalists who moved to Nova Scotia
after the war. The Rev. David Caldwell and his work as minister and
community leader in Guilford County, North Carolina, before and after the
Revolution provided Dr. Robert McCluer Calhoon of the University of North
Carolina with a cogent example of "The Scotch-Irish and Political
Moderation." Dr. John Buchanan wrote about a less-moderate figure in
"Andrew Jackson, the Scotch-Irish, and the Conquest of the Old Southwest."
Genealogist Zona Gale Forbes traced the survivors of the wreck of the
emigrant ship Faithful Steward on the Delaware coast in 1785.
Dr. Brian Lambkin, director of the
Center for Migration Studies in Northern Ireland, used the visit that
Judge Thomas Mellon (1813-1908) made to his birthplace near Omagh, County
Tyrone, in 1882 as a way to document one prominent "returned Yank's"
understanding of his Ulster heritage. Two scholars from Boise State
University, Gary McCain and Nina M. Ray, looked at ordinary people like us
revisiting the places where our ancestors lived in their study of "The
Search for Personal Meaning in Legacy Travel to Ulster."
Michael D. Roe and Sybil Dunlap of
Seattle Pacific University studied "Contemporary Scotch-Irish Identities
and Attitudes toward The Troubles in Northern Ireland" and Harold R.
Alexander of the Center for Scotch-Irish Studies analysed the meaning of a
Scotch-Irish identity to contemporary Americans. He also contributed a
research note on the vexing question of how many Scotch-Irish folk could
be found in early America and how many are here now. There are also
reviews of several recent books about the Scotch-Irish.