Sunday, 28 February 2010

Loughries Historical Society Newtownards - Invite to Mayor's Parlour

The Mayor of Ards Cllr. Billy Montgomery has invited members of Loughries Historical Society to the Mayor's Parlour for a reception on Friday 16th April 2010.

The Mayor will recognise the hard work undertaken by members of Loughries Historical Society within the Ulster Scots Community in Borough of Ards.

The Mayor will also pay tribute to the charitable work carried out by our members & also monies that has been raised - which has been donated to a number of local charities.

We will look forward to the visit and on that evening Loughries will hand over two cheques - the Mayor's charity for 2010 - Cancer Research and the other to Loughries chosen charity for 2010 - The Renal Unit, Ulster Hospital Dundonald, both will receive £200.00.


Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 11

Keeping with the theme of the last post - The Clyde Valley. This drum is known as The Lord Carson and is owned by Irwin True Blues Orange Lodge from Drumbo, Co. Antrim.
Edward Henry Carson was born on the 9th of February in the year 1854 to a wealthy middle class protestant family living in Dublin. He went to the school at Portarlington before going on to study Law at the Trinity College in Dublin. He was called to the bar in Ireland in 1877 and became incredibly successful. He had gained a reputation for fierce advocacy and was recognized for his awesome legal abilities. He was involved in the Irish land agitation which ran from 1888 until 1891 where he acted as Crown Prosecutor. This led to him being made a Queen's Counsel in 1889. He was appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland on the 20th of June 1892. It was in that year that he entered politics and his colourful political career began. He was elected the MP for Trinity College in the 1892 general election for the Conservative party, although the party lost the election.

He was admitted to the English Bar the following year in 1893 and mainly practiced in London after this. On the political front he attacked the Second Home Rule Bill for Ireland that same year and it was defeated. In fact his speech in parliament was widely acclaimed. His legal career was also gaining recognition. He was to be involved in some very high profile and famous cases. The most famous perhaps coming in 1895 when the Marquess of Queensberry engaged Carson to lead his defence against Oscar Wilde's libel action. This meant that Carson was in effect prosecuting Wilde, who had been his friend and rival at Trinity College. Wilde famously remarked before the trial "No doubt he will pursue this case with the added bitterness of an old friend." Carson's cross examination of Wilde is considered a classic example of an intellectual battle of wits. Carson won the case.

He was appointed Solicitor-General for England on the 7th of May 1900, a position he was to hold until 1905 when the Conservative government resigned in December of that year. In 1908, he was involved in the notorious Winslow Boy case. George Archer-Shee, a 13-year-old cadet at the Isle of Wight's Osbourne Naval College, was accused of stealing a five shilling postal order from the locker of a fellow cadet, forging the cadet's signature, and cashing it. Despite the boy's protestations of innocence, he was expelled. His father, Martin Archer-Shee (a Liverpool bank manager) fought mightily to obtain satisfaction. Carson won the case for him. The name Archer-Shee was changed to Winslow when the story was later made into a play. It has since been made into a film as well.

Carson was now regarded as one of the finest litigator's of his day and also one of the most prominent politicians. He never hid his principles and made it very clear that he wanted the whole of Ireland to remain British. In February 1910, he agreed to become the leader of the Irish Unionist Parliamentary Party. He famously stated that Munster and Leinster were British but fate had another plan for him. In fact it was to be the Northern province of Ulster that Carson's name would forever be attached. In June of 1911, he accepted Sir James Craig's invitation to become the leader of the Ulster Unionists. His high profile status brought prestige but most importantly credibility to the Unionist's cause. Carson maintained his argument from his 1893 parliament speech that the union between Britain and Ireland must be maintained. Lord Carson however was to take drastic action when a third Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1912.

The Home Rule Crisis

After the Liberals victory at the General Election of 1910, they were obliged to introduce a third bill for Home Rule in Ireland after supporters of Home Rule virtually guaranteed the Liberal's success. The introduction of the Parliament Act in 1911 had removed the House of Lord's Veto and with it a major stumbling block to Home Rule. This meant that when a third bill for Home Rule in Ireland was introduced it would be passed, which meant it would be law as early as 1914.

The Unionists recognised the dangers right away as it now looked as if Home Rule was inevitable. A crisis is defined as a situation that has reached an extremely dangerous point that may lead to dire consequences. This is exactly how the Ulster Unionists viewed the situation. Both Carson and Craig publicly spoke about their fears at the time and were adamant that Ireland wouldn't have home rule. The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on the 11th of April 1912.

Unionist defiance was promoted at a series of rallies and marches with the result that their was now a groundswell of opinion in Ulster against home rule. Support was however spreading all over Ireland for the Unionist's stance. The concern was that this would be the first step towards independence. In an attempt to reduce these fears concessions were offered. The Bill would allow Ireland only limited powers which would not include important strategic aspects such as defence. 4 or maybe 6 of the counties of Ulster which had a protestant majority would be exempt from the Bill and remain under the control of Westminster. There was also a further proposal to allow individual counties to opt out of home rule for a period of 6 weeks these were promptly rejected by Carson who stated “Ulster wants the question settled now and for ever. We do not want sentence of death with a stay of execution for six years.”
Support for the Unionist cause was spreading across parties and many high profile political figures were now openly aligning themselves with Carson's campaign against home rule in Ulster. The Conservative party in both Scotland and England supported the cause. In Ulster however, James Craig championed a more determined show of solidarity amongst Unionists and organised a petition that would be recognised as both a rallying call and a public declaration of contempt for home Rule. He organised the signing of Ulster's solemn league and covenant. On 28September 1912 protestant people gathered all over Ulster, pledging themselves :-
"to stand by one another in defending for ourselves and our children our cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom and in using all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule parliament in Dublin."

On what was known as Ulster Day, factories and businesses closed to allow workers and managers time off to sign. What was a surprise to Westminster was the way unionists from across the class divide were more than happy to sign. Common factory workers rubbed shoulders with landed gentry as they waited to make their mark for the Unionist cause. In Belfast City Hall Carson was the first to sign Ulster's Solemn League and Covenant. In total 471,414 men and women who could prove Ulster birth signed. Many from all over Ireland and the mainland made the effort to sign. 2000 alone came from Dublin.

Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 10

This drum:- The Clyde Valley - was made by and owned by Denis Morrow. It is a 3 piece shell, very light and a pleasure to drum. The drum is a plain shell with a simple ribbon across the front. The drum is named after The Clyde Valley Boat, a ship that has become synonymous with the events of 1912 and the Home Rule crises here in Ulster.

If Denis decides to sell the drum I have been given first refusal - Lets see. We had the drum out in Portavogie for the 'Twelfth' back in 2008.

Here is a snippet on the history of the Clyde Valley Boat

1914 April she was acquired by Major Frederick Crawford at Glasgow on behalf of the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) for the purpose of running guns and ammunition into Northern Ireland as she had been carrying coal from Scotland to Belfast for some months providing the perfect cover.

1914 19th-20th April During the night she rendezvoused with the coaster HMS Fanny in a Welsh bay the two ships lashed together one showing a port light and the other a starboard light. A cargo of 30,000 rifles and 5 million rounds of ammunition from Hamburg were transferred to her hold.

1914 24th April She was briefly renamed Mountjoy II, being named after the Mountjoy which broke the boom across the Foyle in 1689 and thus a more appropriate historic and name of good omen to Ulster ears given the activities she was about to embark upon. This was achieved by using strips of canvas 6 feet long which were cut and painted with white letters on a black back ground, and affixed to her bows and stern. This was done primarily so the men waiting at Copeland would know who and what the ship was.

At 10:30pm she steamed into Larne. While she was unloading on the quay, she was at the same time transshipping a smaller quantity of arms into a motor-boat, moored against her side, which when laden hurried off to Donaghadee.

At 5am she left for Bangor arriving at 7.30am to successfully unload the rest of her cargo.

The cargo was distributed to arms dumps all over the North of Ireland by almost every available motor vehicle.

On leaving Bangor she set a course for the Clyde discarding the canvas name and becoming the familiar coal ship.

As luck would have it fog came down and she changed course to meet up with the Fanny to bring back the Ulstermen of her crew

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Slim Whitman - North Wind

Yes, are you getting to grips with my musical taste yet - it is diverse and without reason most of the time!

This tune reminds me of 'Home' with my dad in the kitchen on a Sunday morning, the gramophone going in the corner of the room, with Blakley making his 'Sunday Morning Ulster Fry' - Slim Whitman - Johnny Cash - Jim Reeves, blaring out. It took me perhaps 20 years to get over that, however in recent time the memories come flooding back!


Tin Whistle Tune - The Lonesome Boatman -

Yes, a delve deep into the Irish Tradtional Music Scene - to hear The Lonesome Boatman. Finbar Furey on low whistle:

I dabble a little on the whistle, and well, if only I could play like this - fantastic!


Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 9

Lt. Colonel R. Blair Mayne: DSO (3 Bars) Legion D'Honneur & Croix De Guerre.

I lived in Newtownards for around 30 years and the name Blair Mayne was synonymous with the town. I lived in an apartment block at Market Street for 5 years and my neighbour was Douglas Mayne, Blair's brother. Douglas was well up in years and a retired dentist. I had the very good fortune to visit on many occasions - as long as I brought a bottle with me! - Douglas would get out old photographs, letters, Mayne Family items, war items belonging to Blair and read to me & tell me stories. These were precious times and I felt it an honour and privilege to be in the presence of such a collection of wonderful items about the great man and of course to hear all the stories at first hand - many of these items were never published.

This drum is a memorial to Blair Mayne and is owned by G. Dale of Loughbrickland.

More can be found about Blair here:-


Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 8

Thank you for all the e-mails regarding the Lambeg Drum posts - they are very popular.

Themed Drums: 'The Cock Drum' is a recurring theme in the Lambeg Drum tradition, this drum is called 'The Aghalee Hero' and is owned by D. Weir of Killwarlin. At the top of the drum you can see ' Come Listen To Me Boys' - excellent drum & painting.

I took a school trip to Willie Magowan's in 2009 and one of the boy's looked at this photograph and asked Willie - 'Did you paint that there big chicken on that there drum' - priceless!


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Ulster Scots Musician - George Douglas Holmes MBE

I first met George Douglas Holmes MBE (Geordie) around 1998, I know who he was and I knew a little about him, however I got to know him a lot better when we met formally at various Ulster Scots Events.
Geordie is a wonderful musician, storyteller (none better) singer/song writer and of course, he plays the lambeg drum. He has been around the traditional music scene for many years and is highly respected for his playing ability on the Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar, bodhran, etc and his encyclopedic knowledge of music, tunes and songs.
Geordie has performed for me at various Loughries / Ulster Scots events that I have organise in the past and to be honest, I could listen to him time and time again. He likes to play the drum to the fife - with his favourite tune being 'old zip coon' or 'turkey n the straw'.
This pencil drawing of George was sketched out by Mr. Billy Neill, another friend of mine during an Ulster Scots musical evening Loughries held in the Town Hall, Newtownards a year or so back. George is a character with worldly image - white hair, white beard so plenty going on for an artist to capture.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Spectacular Views - Ulster 5

Rural Ulster at its scenic best: - Again looking across to the hills of Antrim from just outside Glarryford on the road to Dunloy / Garryduff on a cold, crisp, clear February morning.
It is a tough job - but someone has to do it!!

Spectacular Views - Ulster 4

Yes, remembered to take my camera again today, sadly batteries ran out after a couple of snaps. On my way to Garryduff Primary School (tin whistle and lambeg drum class) just short distance from Ballymoney.

I stopped to take a picture of 'Slemish' the sun rising from the clouds lighting up the horizon - it was minus - 5 degrees at this time, 0830am, you can still see the frost in the fields.

In many ways I am fortunate to have the job I have - I do work long and hard and I really enjoy meeting all the Children, teachers and Principals - all eager to learn about their Ulster Scots Tradition and in particular their musical heritage.


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Drew Nelson - Grand Orange Lodge Grand Secretary

Drew Nelson and I have been friends for quite some time and he is a man I hold in the highest regard. Drew holds the post of Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and is a steady hand in - and an Ambassador for - The Orange Institution.

Here is a link to a snippit of an upcoming BBC Radio 4 Programme Beyond Westminster.

Journalist Denis Murray spoke to the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, Drew Nelson, about the history of the movement, his belief in its right to parade, and the future of Northern Ireland.

Full programme to be aired on BBC Radio 4 at 1102 GMT on Saturday 20 February 2010. It will then be available on the BBC iPlayer for 7 days.


Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 7

A tribute to the Brave Thirteen: This drum is known as Roaring Meg - The drum was made by William Moore and painted by William Magowan, this drum commemorates the 13 apprentices who closed the Ferry quay gate in the face of the Earl Of Antrim's Redshanks on 7th December (old style) 1688, at the start of the 'Siege of Derry'
This is an excellent painted drum with a lot of local history attached to the paintings. Obviously a lot of thought has gone into the drum - The top painting depicts the Mountjoy Breaking the Boom that blocked the Foyle. The main painting is 'Roaring Meg - The Defender of Ulster' a powerful cannon that overlooks the City Walls in Derry.
I use this image on my school PowerPoint's to explain the Apprentice Boy's of Derry and the Siege of Derry in 1688 - many school children simply do not know or have little idea of what happened in that era which is one of our most significant historical periods - shame!

Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 6

Well now, folklore - conjecture - call it what you will, but this is a very interesting drum.

Denis Morrow, drum maker and drummer of some repute, owns this drum. It is stored in his roof space at Orangefield Belfast and he tells me that it is there to stay. Denis will tell the story that the Fortwilliam Drum was at one time ‘Peg’ an Ancient Order of Hibernians lambeg drum and in days gone by allegedly stolen from the A.O.H. by person or persons unknown.

It was a very famous incident immortalised in a poem ‘Peg has changed her walking days from August till July’ – and so it goes on.

Whatever the true way of the drum, it is a great story and one that encapsulates a lot of the lambeg drumming tradition!

Thanks to Denis and Bobby for the use of the photo.


Loughries Historical Society - Newtownards

Loughries Historical Society was formed in September 2005 out of Loughries True Blues 1948 Orange Lodge. The lodge had been on the decline for quite some time and had hit rock bottom.
October 2004 had seen a few new members into the Lodge who had become disillusioned with the Orange Institution in Newtownards. We were fed up with the negative publicity surrounding our Traditional Parades, the excessive use of Alcohol and Drugs and the thuggish behaviour of elements attached to our Institution / parades - we all wanted something new and different. Loughries had 11 members at this time and that was soon reduced to 9 members with 2 deaths. Discussions were at hand to decide what to do either to hand back our Orange Warrant or explore a new way forward.

It was decided to adopt the Ulster Scots Tradition and develop as an Ulster Scots Community Group, however still having Orangeism at our core. Meetings were held with Ards Borough Council – Jim Murdock and the Ulster Scots Agency to plot the way forward.
Within a very short period of time we began hosting historical talks and lectures, exploring our Ulster Scots Culture – with names like Gregory, Graham, McCartney and Anderson in the Lodge and most of us Worshiping at Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, the connection was too great to ignore.

We began at the beginning of the ‘Dawn of the Ulster Scots’ with an exploration of the Hamilton Montgomery Settlement of 1606 - the then Chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency Mark Thompson, came along and gave a great talk & PowerPoint on this vitally important settlement – incidentally it was the 400 anniversary of the Hamilton Montgomery Settlement at this time, and since then Loughries has grown and developed into a thriving Ulster Scots Community Group.

We have also explored areas of Ulster Scots history such as Robert the Bruce, The Covenanters, Ulster Surnames, The Plantation of Ulster, Burns Night Suppers and at the same time explored aspects of our Orange Tradition through talks / lectures mixed with educational trips to the Boyne Battlefield and Dan Winters Cottage.

The jewel in the crown of Loughries Historical Society is our Ulster Scots Summer School. It commenced in July 2007 and is held annually at Castle Gardens Primary School Bowtown Road Newtownards. For 1 week each year up to 70 children per day come along to the school where they are educated in a fun, relaxed, safe and friendly environment, where the children and leaders explore all aspects of our Ulster Scots Traditions like, music & song, dance, history, poetry & language, arts & crafts, sports & games, cookery and storytelling and not to mention the highlight of the week the day trip to either Delamont Country Park or the Ulster Folk Museum. We have been graced with the visit each year of the Mayor of the Ards Borough and Local MLA’s, Michelle McIlveen and Simon Hamilton who are amongst out staunchest supporters.

A lot of time is spent planning and developing various projects and we have also been very fortunate to enlist the help of a great many people – too many to put on this blog, but many have volunteered to help using their own special talents. Nevertheless as our reputation begins to grow in the Local area our membership has also increased to over 25 members.

We firmly believe it is possible to be an Orangeman and be an Ulster Scot; there is no shame in that. Both can go hand in hand and are inextricably linked - our history tells us that. Loughries now proudly march on the ‘Twelfth’ with The Symington Memorial Silver Band from Dundonald – we did not have a band to accompany us on parade for over 25 years, we now carry our Banner on parade with plans to purchase a new banner in 2012 to mark the Centenary of the Signing of the Ulster Covenant.

New members continue to join us and it is a credit to the hard work and vision of our group that we have turned around an almost possible situation into a thriving Orange Lodge and Ulster Scots Community Group.


Thursday, 18 February 2010

American Civil War - Confederate

If you have a few minutes to view this video, you can't helped but be moved by the music and the old Photographs of the Dead Generals of the Confederacy. Many very interesting characters, who fought gloriously for their just cause, sadly in vain.

A Tribute to the confederate generals killed during the American civil war.


Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 5

Here is another interesting Lambeg Drum for you to view 'The Prince of Orange Memorial' owned by W. Fleming, Scarva.

My Faith Looks Up To Thee is the top painting, the all seeing eye, In God is My Trust and the view of the Boyne River/Battle site including the Obelisk - with King William Prince of Orange riding once again onto victory.

There is plenty happening in this painting and obviously a lot of thought had been put into the painting - A favourite of mine!


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Fife & Lambeg Drum - Ulster Scots - Orange - Painting

Blakley's Glorious Traditions: A while ago I posted a blog regarding a painting that I had commissioned by my old school friend Brian Jamison, Well here is the finished article. I have promised 2 friends a print each of the painting, so I took the painting down to my local Photographer, Stevensons in Newtownards who photographed professionally.

The painting is 'Blakley's Glorious Traditions' and depicts the Anderson family displaying their Cultural & Musical Heritage. Back in the 1960's in the old Greenwell Street, Newtownards, where my family lived for generations upon generations and where they worked, played and enjoyed their lives to the full. Here as you can see is my family like many ordinary Ulster Protestatns display our Culture in a peaceful, fun and family way.

There are 4 generations of the Anderson Family painted, quite a few passed away many years ago, however their memory now lives on in this work of art.

I used the main Anderson Bloodline starting with my Grandfather & Grandmother, their children, including my Father and Mother, my Brothers & Sister with my 2 children and a few friends thrown in.

I am absolutely delighted how the painting turned out, it is a credit to the Artist Brian Jamison and I dedicate the painting to the memory of my late Father Blakely Anderson who sadly passed away in May 2009.

A little about Brian - Brian Jamison is a well known and highly respected local artist from the town land of Ballywatticock, which lies on the outskirts of Newtownards, Co. Down. Brian has established a fine reputation by the quality of his work and is noted for his meticulous attention to detail. Living deep in the countryside and close to the shores of Strangford Lough, Brian has been inspired by his surroundings and his love for the traditional way of life. He strives to capture through art, many aspects of rural county life such as music, animals, wildlife and country sports, which he regularly enjoys.

Over the years as his passion for painting has grown and his desire to paint many diverse subjects has developed, Brian is equally at home painting on canvas, stones or old milk churns. His paintings have included family pets, animals, tractors, farm yard or wild life scenes such as pheasants and wildfowl, however recent commissions have included famed motor cycle racers, a WW1 scene of the 36th Ulster Division “Going over the top” at the Battle of the Somme and various Ulster Scots topics.

Brian is one to relish any painting challenge and recently had been asked to paint two lambeg drums. Both drums are shown in this book “Auld Samuel” a portrait of Samuel Cully of Portavogie, and “Prudence” a drum depicting the old Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, Newtownards. Keeping with this theme, Brian is seen here completing a street scene named “Blakley's Glorious Traditions”. It was commissioned by Mark Anderson and shows a typical “Twelfth Scene” in Newtownards, including the Fife & Lambeg Drum.

Brian holds tremendous pride in his work; he carefully plans all his paintings and spends many painstaking hours adding minute detail to his work, as he strives for artistic perfection.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 4

This lambeg drum depicts the Duke of Schomberg - The Defender of Ulster. The drum is owned by Mr. S. Forbes, from Portadown.

Friedrich Hermann (or Frédéric-Armand), 1er duc de Schomberg (originally Schönberg) (December 1615 or January 1616—July 11, 1690), was a marshal of France and a General in the English Army.

At the Battle of the Boyne (July 1, 1690), Schomberg gave his opinion against the determination of William to cross the river in face of the opposing army. In the battle he commanded the centre, and while riding through the river without his cuirass to rally his men, was surrounded by Irish horsemen and instantly killed. He was buried in St Patricks Cathedral, Dublin,


Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 3

Lambeg Drums reflect many aspects of life in Ulster, the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth as a whole. Painting on Lambeg Drums reflect their owners personal / private wishes. Drums may have historical themes, Biblical themes, famous people/buildings and so on.
This drum is of Sir Winston Churchill with the inscription (The Architect of Victory) and id owned by Articlave LOL 1017.
Thanks to Bobby Magreechan who supplied most of the photo's for the Lambeg Drum Booklet - 'The Ulster Drum'

Monday, 15 February 2010

Carrickfergus Castle

Half term break, so off school - we decided to take a day trip to Carrickfergus Castle.
Shame on me, I have not visited the Castle since Primary 6, many years ago. In recent times as I continue to explore Ulster Scots History, Carrickfergus Castle appears time and time again - So I felt it time I pay it a visit.

Mrs A and the boy's had a great time, there is quite a lot to see at the Castle and it was well laid out, clean and interesting. There was quite a few visitors at the Castle which was good to see, the weather started off great then of course it rained & rained and of course freezingcold!

Matthew and Christopher really enjoyed the trip particularly the Cannons and Dungeons and a visit to Mauds Ice Cream to complete the day out!

All in all a worthwhile visit.


Sunday, 14 February 2010

Dudley the Drummer!

Well, this is Dudley our pet dog. He was one of 12 puppies abandoned and taken in by Assissi animal santuary in Conlig near Bangor - we took him in.

As Dudly is officially in a drumming family, we thought it right and proper that he - like the rest of the Anderson's gets his own drum.
He is looking forward to his first outing!

Lambeg Drum Poem


The instrument now that I want to describe
Is the greatest that ever a man did contrive
Its size and its sound are second to none
I’m referring off course to the auld lambeg drum

There are many who think they know how it’s done
A secret passed down from father to son
But a good drum is different by a fraction of a tone
How to get them to do it not many have known

The things I’ve picked up cant be found with out sorrow
There part of the knowledge of my friend Denis Morrow
Drum maker and player of quite some repute
A gentleman a scholar, that none can dispute

The first is the body that’s known as the shell
A thin piece of oak with two mouth hoops as well
Over the flesh hoops a skin on each side
What better use for a white she goats’ hide

The brace hoops and rope are all that is left
To tension the drum and give of its best
With a pull here and there and a slip of a knot
Then add a wee drop just to see what you’ve got

Now comes the skill as you balance each side
A tap here and there to tension the hide
Lively and high yet not to bare
Listen to her whistle as she blows out the air

And now to the drummer each one with his beat
As he rolls her right up, its a sound oh so sweet
Don’t kill her with weight, keep her light and in time
Hold her up to the judges and all will be fine

So next time you hear a lambeg drum being played
Remember the things in this poem that I’ve said
Each drum has a story that it wants to tell
An Ulster-Scots tradition, alive, fit and well

This version by Mark Anderson


Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drum - 2

Under the Arch in Newtownards 11th July - Each year all local drums and drummers decent on Newtownards and congregate under the Arch in celebration of the Lambeg Drum Tradition in the area, but also to Celebrate King William III Glorious Victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Here are two very well known drummers on the left is Alan Watson from Belfast, playing the Agincourt Queen - the drum is owned by Bobby Magreechan from Bangor. On the right is George Douglas Holmes, drummer and musician of some note from Donaghadee, playing the Cock Drum owned by Stephen Gordon.

Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums - 1

As I mentioned a few day's ago I intend to post a series of Lambeg Drum photo's.

Well I think it right and proper that I start with my own drum - Prudence!

Brian Jamison my old school friend and talented artist, painted Prudence for me. The top part of the drum has the Bible & Crown with the words 'In God We Trust' The main body of the drum is Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, my Church in Newtownards - 4 Generations of Andersons have worshiped here and still do.

The drum is named Prudence - why? Prudence was my Grandmother (my Dad's Mother) and she dearly loved the 'Twelfth' so in recognition of her loyalty to and great love of the Orange Institution I named my drum after her!

Prudence is 3ft 3/4 and made by Johnston. I bought the drum from a chap called Gamble from Donacloney in 2000, the drum was a plain shell - I unveiled Prudence in May 2001in Conlig Orange Hall.


Saturday, 13 February 2010

Local Paper

Ulster Scots at Movilla High School - Last Friday, as I posted previously Keith Lyttle, Fiddle - Kerry Jordan, Highland & Scottish Country Dance, Matthew Warwick, History and Language and myself spent the day in the school taking 8 x 30 minute taster sessions - it was a great success.

The local paper Newtownards Chronicle, picked up on the story and it made the front page -an excellent photo and write up. Hopefully this will go a long way to promote the school in a positive way, after some bad publicity in recent times.

We found the students to be polite, mannerly, very well behaved and keen to interact in the workshops, however we did find the students at times a little shy! Ms Brown, a teacher in the school who arranged the day, has been inundated with requests from students to take up the tuition classes. She explained the school has been buzzing since our visit and the staff had been delighted with the new and exciting projects. The school as well as hosting music and dance classes were looking at local Ulster Scots history projects and Ulster Scots cookery classes.

Exciting times ahead for Movilla and the Ulster Scots Tutor Programme!

That's two weeks in a row that I have made the local paper - I'm getting as well known as big bro David!


Friday, 12 February 2010

Portavogie Harbour

So, from Portavogie Primary School to another great wee school, Kirkistown Primary School 1.8 mile apart! Again a great morning's work and a lot more children and teachers touched by the Ulster Scots message.
On my way back I call into Eric Cully's house in Portavogie, where I had a delicious lunch with Jean & Eric. I nipped down to the Harbour to take a snap of the Harbour, sadly not too many boats in the harbour - but a peaceful and tranquil place nonetheless!

Spectacular Views - Ulster 3

Yes, today I was in Portavogie Primary School - what a great morning it was Keith, Kerry and I. The classes rotated around us, the children and teachers thoroughly enjoyed the morning!

This is a photo looking out from Ballywalter - on the main Ballywalter to Ballyhalbert Road - My job at times is so enjoyable.


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Spotlight 9/2/2010

I thoroughly enjoyed the Spotlight programme on Tuesday 9th February 2010. I don't normally dabble in Politics too often, as my political opinions are very private. Nevertheless it saddens me to see my fellow Unionists argue and argue.

I was very pleased when there appeared to be Unionist Unity on the cards, then of course our 'Papist Press' as Dr. Paisley used to refer to them - eventually got hold of the story and there was blind panic - 'What Unionist Unity' that will be the end of us Irish Nationalist's. Eventually as the 'Papist Press' spun their webs of deceit and lies the 'Unionist Unity' was dead in the water.

Hopefully, sometime in the near future common ground can be found between our Elected Representatives and we can re-unite all sections of the Pro Union Community for a better and more cohesive society.

Spectacular Views - Ulster 2

I again remembered my camera on Thursday morning - I was travelling to Rathfriland High School for their weekly fife & lambeg drum & tin whistle lessons. It was 0900am the temperature gague inside my vehicle showed minus -5 degrees. I jumped out and took this pictue!

Sometimes the job gets to you not out on the ground more the 'background stuff', nevertheless the views I see most days are magnifficient and give you a much needed boost!


Spectacular Views - Ulster

I remembered to take my camera with me on Wednesday, I was in Londonderry - I took this photo of Lough Neagh and a good part of Ulster, from the top of the Glenshane Pass, it was early in the morning - bright & sunny with heavy frost.

The Glenshane Pass is a major mountain pass cutting through the Sperrin Mountains in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is in the townland of Glenshane on the main Londonderry to Belfast route, the A6.


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

All Quiet Along the Potomac

The is a tune I listened to occasionally when researching the American Civil War 1861 - 1865, however over recent day's the tune has stuck in my mind. I am now memorising the tune and playing it on my Dixon G Whistle.

This version is played on the Piano and sounds very well, there is another version played on the whistle, somewhere but I can't find it on YouTube. But this version will give you a flavour of the tune - Here is a little about the tune, as usual it has a sad ending with the death of the poet who penned the words!

All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight" was a poem first published as "The Picket Guard" by Ethel Lynn Beers in Harper's Weekly, November 30, 1861, attributed only to "E.B." It was reprinted broadly both with that attribution and without, leading to many spurious claims of authorship. Finally, on July 4, 1863, Harper's Weekly told its readers that the poem had been written for the paper by a lady contributor whom it later identified as Beers.

The poem was based on newspaper reports of "all is quiet tonight" based on official telegrams sent to the Secretary of War by Major-General George B. McClellan following the First Battle of Bull Run. Beers noticed that the report was followed by a small item telling of a picket being killed. She wrote the poem that same morning she read it in September, 1861.

In 1863 the poem was set to music by John Hill Hewitt, himself a poet, newspaperman, and musician, who was serving in the Confederate army. This song may have inspired the title of the English translation of Erich Maria Remarque's World War I novel All Quiet on the Western Front.

Ethelinda Lynn Beers (January 13, 1827 – October 11, 1879) was an American poet best known for her patriotic and sentimental Civil War poem "All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight".
Born Ethelinda Eliot in Goshen, New York, she was a descendant of Puritan missionary John Eliot. She published poetry as "Ethyl Lynn" and after her marriage at age 19 to William H. Beers appended her married name to her poems.

In 1863 she published General Frankie: a Story for Little Folks. She feared publishing her collected works as she thought she would die after its publication, a premonition which came true.

The day after the publication of All Quiet Along the Potomac and Other Poems she died in Orange, New Jersey.


David Anderson - Royal Victorian Order

Reading up a little on the award received by big brother - David Anderson in the Queens New Years Honours List. David now has two awards RVO and MBE, perhaps he could share the next award with his wee brother!

The Royal Victorian Order is given by The Queen to people who have served her or the Monarchy in a personal way.

These may include officials of the Royal Household, family members or perhaps British Ambassadors who have helped organise a State Visit to a particular country.

The Order was founded in April 1896 by Queen Victoria as a way of rewarding personal service to her, on her own initiative rather than by ministerial recommendation.

The Order was, and is, entirely within the Sovereign's personal gift.

The anniversary of the institution of the Order is 20 June, the day of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne.

There have never been any limits on the number of appointments made. Today, people receive their award either privately from The Queen or another member of the Royal Family, or during an Investiture.

Often, after a State Visit, the Queen will invest people in the country visited before returning to the United Kingdom.

The Order is also conferred on foreigners, and it is often awarded by the Sovereign during official tours overseas.

The first foreigners to receive the Order were the Prefect of Alpes Maritimes and the Mayor of Nice, during Queen Victoria's visit to the south of France in 1896.

The Chapel of the Order is The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, a 'Royal peculiar' which for historic reasons is in the private possession of the Sovereign in his or her right as the Duke of Lancaster.

The number of members in recent years has outgrown the available space in the Savoy Chapel, so the service for those who have received awards is now held in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle every four years.

Many members of the Royal Family who have themselves received the award are present, along with the many recipients, who include servants of The Queen who have served the Monarchy for many years.

Motto: Victoria

Chapel: The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy

Ranks: Knight/Dame Grand Cross, Knight/Dame Commander, Commander, Lieutenant and Member

Post-nominals: GCVO, KCVO/DCVO, CVO, LVO and MVO

Founded: 1896

Monday, 8 February 2010

Sullivan Ballou Letter Home

Kenneth Lauren "Ken" Burns (born July 29, 1953) is an American director and producer of documentary films known for his style of making use of archival footage and photographs. Among his most notable productions is The Civil War (1990) It details the American Civil war 1861 – 1865 – he unearthed many photographs and documents relating to the conflict.

Here is a very moving letter sent home by a soldier - Sullivan Ballou, you can’t help but be moved by his love and devotion to his wife & children – a letter very much from the heart.


Benefits of Bloggin

When I commenced / took the plunge and began bloggin' I was rather unsure what to do or say, and concerned of course if anyone would look in / view or correspond, plenty look in regularly. And after a few months my ideas for material keeps flooding to me. If I had more time I would post a little more!

Nevertheless benefits from bloggin are endless - I was in Church yesterday Sunday and 2 men approached me and tried to book tickets for Loughries 2011 Burns Night Supper! I have received 4 e-mails from other folk again seeking tickets fro our Burns Night - must put the price up!

Loughries had a 1/3rd page spread in the Newtownards Chronicle and it appears to have been well received - all publicity is good.

I have also received communication from distant relatives in Toronto Canada, it has been great exchanging news, photographs and having a general chat.

I plan to do a series of Lambeg Drum photo montages, so look out if you are interested!

Bloggin is the way to go!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Ulster Scots & Ards Peninsula Schools - Movilla Visit

Well, it went very, very well at Movilla High School Newtownards today. Keith, Kerry, Matthew and I arrived at the school and met Ms Brown, who showed us to our rooms where we set up our bits 'n' pieces. Between the hours of 1030 - 1220 we hosted 4 x classes each of around 12 - 15 pupils, break for lunch then 4 x classes 20 pupils per class, 1300 - 1510.

The pupils were very interested and took an active part in my fife & lambeg drum work, I was quite surprised that the pupils were quite shy; however they were impeccably well behaved and mannerly. Three of us Keith, Kerry and I have been invited to set up weekly tuition in Fiddle - Dance - Fife & Lambeg Drum so we look forward to that. The children also showed a great interest in Ulster Scots history, so an open door there!

The staffs were terrific throughout the day and hospitality shown to us was wonderful. We had a delicious lunch of tea, coffee, sandwiches, fruit and biscuits.

One of the careers teachers asked me to come and take part in a 'young citizens' workshop - where ex pupils come to the school and discuss their life and careers since leaving school, I was surprised to be asked but willing to help, as long as I don't discuss my school day's!

So, all in all a very worthwhile and successful day for the Ulster Scots Agency - when we are out in the field delivering what we do best promoting and developing the Ulster Scots Tradition and its associated Cultures.


Thursday, 4 February 2010

Ulster Scots & Ards Peninsula Schools - Movilla

Friday - I will be visiting Movilla High School Newtownards, with my colleagues to take part in what we call an all day taster session. The performers / tutors get a classroom each Keith - Fiddle, Matthew - Flute, Guitar - Kerry - Dance, Gary - Language and me Lambeg Drum, Fife & Whistle. The children come to us for 30 minutes, then rotate in to the next class 8 - are scheduled

We explain about the Ulster Scots Culture then talk about musical instruments / tradition and play a few bits and pieces - then get the pupils up to play / have a go on each instrument. These are very interesting and have proven very successful in the past and a useful tool in our armoury.

Movilla have asked me to take 3 x weeks of taster sessions with GCSE pupils, following that a 12 week tuition classes in Lambeg Drum, Fife and if needed whistle. I am a little apprehensive for the first time - why? - Well it is my old school. I was not a model pupil and it feels very strange going back to Movilla after 30 years! My only hope is all my previous teachers have retired or left and no-one recognises me!

Well, that aside I am confident all will go well and in time Lambeg Drumming in Newtownards will stage a renaissance and develop into a thriving tradition once again! - Here's hoping.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

More Music Reo Speedwagon

May I thank all you folk out there who kindly view my Blog - I have had quite a few interesting e-mails, texts and a few phone calls regarding my taste in music. Well I have diverse taste in music as this post will show.

In my younger days - the days of the air guitar and my 'Mott The Hoople' hair style, another of my fovourite groups was Reo Speedwagon - Who? Yes they were an American group who, well did it for me at that time - and believe it or not still do. Hi Infidelity was the LP and is regularily played on CD in my Van during my many miles promoting the Ulster Scots Tradition throughout Ulster.



Monday, 1 February 2010

Loughries Burns Night Supper - 2

Mayor of Ards - Councillor Montgomery poetically extends a toast to the Lassies

The magnificent Broken String Band - Entertained us with fabulous traditional music

Great night had by all who attended our Burns Night Supper - We are looking forward to next year already!

Loughries Burns Night Supper - 1

Wilbert Magill, address to the Haggis - Stephen Rodgers, Pipe.

Loughries Ulster Scots hosted a traditional Burns Night Supper on Saturday 30th January 2010, in the Londonderry Room, Town Hall, Newtownards. Guest of honour for the evening was Mayor of Ards Councillor Montgomery and his wife Sally.

Over 90 guests packed in to the venue and were welcomed by Chairman of Loughries; Cllr Hamilton Gregory. The haggis was duly received carried by Amy Johnston, piped in by local piper Stephen Rodgers, with the traditional Burns address recited by Mr. Wilbert Magill. Mayor of Ards Cllr Montgomery duly proposed a toast to the Lassies, after which the evening meal was served.

Following the meal, Mr. Wilbert Magill recited a few poems from his popular book of poems and memories ‘Aboot tha Airds’, The guests settled down to an evening of wonderful music, this year provided by the brilliant Broken String Band, who entertained the crowd with their repertoire of traditional Ulster Scots / Blue Grass and Cajun music.

The guest’s showed great generosity as over £300.00 was collected for the Mayor’s Charity for 2010 Cancer Research and Loughries Historical Society Charity the Renal Unit at the Ulster Hospital.