Thursday, 25 March 2010

Victory In Jesus

Click on this link if you enjoy a great Gospel track - It is a favourite of mine! It is an uplifting tune, the Greenwell Street Quartet sang this track in Church a number of weeks ago it was great.

I will have to get the whistle out again and add this to my tune repertoire that I play badly!


Sunday, 21 March 2010

Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 13

This drum is owned by Mr. Eric Cully from the fishing village Portavogie, on the Co. Down coast, with the drum being made by Denis Morrow Drum Maker - Orangefield Belfast. I am not sure who painted the shell, however Brian Jamison painted the brace hoops.

THE SOUTH ROCK is the largest of an extensive group of rocks 1รพ miles north-east of Kearney Point which includes the Privateer, Crooked Pladdy and the Ridge. The first Irish wave-washed lighthouse was established here on 25 March 1797 by Thomas Rogers Many boats have come to grief on the rocks here down the years - however not as many in recent times.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


Mastermind - BBC 2 Friday 8pm.

Jim Murdock was appearing on Mastermind, Jim is the Good Relation Officer at Ards Borough Council, Newtownards Co. Down. The Ulster Scots Group I am a member of Loughries, has been helped by Jim since 2005, and I and others have developed a strong personal friendship with Jim. He has provided Loughries with help - both financial and practical and is always on the end of the telephone.

His chosen subject was Charles Baudelaire, a Nineteenth Century French Poet. Sadly I had never heard of him, showing off my literally ignorance - but Movilla High School did not promote 19th Century French Poet's when I was at school. Nevertheless Jim acquitted himself very well and I was very proud and pleased that he performed so very well.

On my return from Ballymoney I watched the progemme on BBC iPlayer - a wonderful invention for people like me who never sees too much T.V. but can catch up when or if I get a minute or two.


Ulster Scots Concert Ballymoney

Last night I visited Ballymoney to assist in an Ulster Scots evening - one of the schools I visit was taking part.

Culcrow Primary School is a rural school in Aghadowey and very much into their Ulster Scots activities, Fiddle - Keith Lyttle, Scottish & Highland Dancing - Elizabeth Brown-Kerr, Tin Whistle, myself, Coral Speaking, Ann Morrison-Smith and Drama.

On stage the children performed a number of pieces, on their instruments, Coral Speaking, solo singer, Dance and a brief snippet from their Drama - The Linen Factory. - the children performed magnificently well and are a credit to their school.

Tribute must be paid to all the Tutors - but special mention to the Principal Olive Collins, Mrs Johnston and all the staff for their hard work and commitment to their children and delivering what is best for the children, their parents and of course the school.

Finally, thanks to Gary Blair for all the hard work that he puts in around Co. Antrim, he compared the concert very, very well despite a few dodgy jokes!


Friday, 19 March 2010

Difficult Day's

Well, time for reflection - back to home and the comfort zone!!!!!!!


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Fifing at Moyne Ulster Scots summer school 2009

Not that I am vain in any way - or a self publicist - however having watch Chelsae being knocked out of the Champions League tonight I visited my laptop, yes more grant forms to prepare. I then was looking through you tube and found myself.

I visited Moyne Ulster Scots in 2007 & 2009 and always try to make an effort as Moyne is so far away 3hr 15 minute drive from my home. Well, Moyne is a great Ulster Scots Group in a particularly rural part of Donegal, very pleasent, hard working group. I did not know I was being filmed but I managed to play 100 pipers on the fife for the children during my workshop.


Another delve into the Traditional Music Scene

I like this singer / song writer - his album Joined Up Writing was excellent, the above song is quite poignant for me considering my job. Mickey delves in to the Political / Religious / Employment world of Southern Ireland / Northern Ireland on this CD - it is enjoyable with many good tracks. Certainly worth a listen!

Mickey MacConnell was born during the unparalleled snowstorms of 1947 and is the youngest member of a musical family from Bellanaleck near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh.

In an attempt to get warm, he fled south and spent most of his working life as a journalist in Dublin where he slaved for the Irish Press Group and, later, The Irish Times.

Despite the fact that he has been writing songs all his life - "Only Our Rivers Run Free"; was written in 1965 - it was only when he moved to Kerry about 30 years ago that he seriously devoted himself to his music.

His first album "Peter Pan and Me"; was released in 1992 to critical acclaim and since then many of his songs have been recorded internationally.

His album "Joined Up Writing"; features many new songs and takes a wry look at life and politics, not just in Ireland but worldwide.


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Londonderry Trip 2

Councillor Gregory entering the Strongest Man Competition - he finnished last!

Following the visit to the Guild hall we embarked on a walk along Derry's Walls - here are the Cannons guarding the Walls.

My camera stopped - no batteries. We visited the very impressive St Columbs Cathedral - wonderfully historic building - slightly closed for renovations, but steeped in history.

The day concluded with members having 1 1/2 hours pleasure time.

I visited Henderson’s Music Shop and bought another tin whistle that I don't need, then Mothers Day shopping.

I did see two 'Derry Men' famous or infamous - Mark Durkin, I did not have time to speak with him - he does ramble on a bit - I do know his brother Martin very well, who is an excellent Solicitor - and Eamon McCann, guess what, yes he was protesting about something!
All in all a successful trip for the group and we are all very much looking forward to the next outing / event.


Londonderry Trip 1

This is our group meeting the Mayor Cllr Devenney - handsome bunch - arn't we!


Deputy Mayor of Derry City Council - well for 5 minutes anyway - thanks to Maurice for the loan of the Deputy Mayor's Chain of Office - perhaps I will enter politics after all!


Saturday 13th March 2010 27 members of Newtownards Ulster Scots travelled to the City of Londonderry for an educational visit. Bus left Newtownards at 0845am with 2-3 members having had a hearty Ulster Fry in Knott’s Restaurant. We had a very interesting and fun quiz on the way up with some very interesting answers - and No the Dinley's (painter and decorators) did not paint the Sistine Chapel in Rome!
First stop was the Guild Hall where we were met by the Deputy Mayor of the Derry City Council Councillor Maurice Devenney. We were shown into the council chamber, took our seats around the Council's debating tables - Maurice gave us a very warm welcome and presented the Chairman Mr. Harold McVea with a crystal case and Council tie. Harold presented Maurice with a plaque and booklet kindly given to us by the Mayor of Ards Councillor Montgomery.

Following tea & biscuits the Councils Superintendent Colin Sharpe then gave us a guided tour of what turned out to be a very beautiful and interesting building. I was particularly taken by the huge organ that is housed on the 1st floor of the building and the many stained glass windows all highly impressive.

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to The Deputy Mayor Maurice Devenney for the hospitality and friendship afforded to us on the day.


Monday, 15 March 2010

BBC2 Tuesday Evening

Not that I watch too much T.V. at any time - unless Chelsea are playing of course, however here is a programme that caught my and if you get time have a look. iplayer for me though! Chelsea are on the other channel.

Battle for North America

Documentary telling the story of the Battle of Quebec, 1759, where at stake was the future of North America and the fate of the British Empire. Britain used its growing industrial strength and a new scientific approach to fight a campaign unlike any that had gone before. It launched a fleet of 200 ships carrying 20,000 men on a deadly mission through uncharted waters. Dan Snow sets sail up the magnificent St Lawrence River following the route taken by the British.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Surprising who's looking in!.

I am delighted that I have quite a following in the Ulster Scots Community with my blog - I am absolutely thrilled who has been looking in daily.

I have received quite a bit of support for my blogging, particularly in recent weeks - so I will continue with the good work - promoting the Ulster Scots Tradition on the front line. I never was one to sit on the sidelines, I much prefer to get my sleeves rolled up and deliver a quality highly professional service for the Ulster Scots Agency - at all times.


The Andersons

Well, here are the Anderson's - This is the only photograph that my Mum has of all of her 'little angels'. Six boys and one girl. Can you tell which one I am?

I am the one with the dickie bow on at the front, not too happy looking!

We were all in our Sunday best - just time for a quick snap, then off to Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, followed by Sunday School.

Yes, I am still as grumpy!


Friday, 12 March 2010

Memorials - Portavogie

I took 3 x photographs of the Memorial to the 'Fishermen Who Were Lost or Died at Sea' in Portavogie at the corner of the Harbour. I felt it right and proper that I post the three together - just incase you have never had the opportunity to visit this wonderful fishing village.

Spectacular Views - Ulster 6

I am sure you could tell that I was absolutely scundered yesterday – time to focus what is important, to me The Ulster Scots People and the next generation!

I started at Castle Gardens Primary School in Newtownards - for tin whistle tuition P6, this morning bright and early, it was a beautiful sunny morning. I soon moved onto Movilla High School (my old school) for Lambeg drum & fife tuition with a mixture of 1st 2nd + 3rd year.
Once finished, I drove down the Ards Peninsula, stopping along the way to take a couple of snaps! I grabbed 5-6 minutes for my lunch at Kircubbin Bay and then drove onto Portavogie Primary School, for whistle & Lambeg drum tuition with P6 + P7.

On my way home I stopped at Portavogie Harbour and took a couple more snaps – one of the Harbour and another of the Memorial to the ‘Men Lost At Sea’. I drove further up the coast to Ballyhalbert – taking a final photograph overlooking ‘The Burn’

Getting out there and doing your work is so vitally important, I have just arrived home absolutely out on my feet this week, nevertheless another successful week promoting our culture at the places and to the people that matter!

Hope you enjoyed the Snaps!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Londonderry Trip

Saturday 13th March Loughries Historical Society, together with a couple of other groups that make up an Ulster Scots Forum in Newtownards, are planning a visit to the Maiden City of Londonderry. The Deputy Mayor of Derry City Council Maurice Devenney will meet as at the Guild Hall at 11am for light refreshments and a tour of the building. I have also booked a tour of the St Columb's Cathedral for 1pm - I am looking forward to that.

Many of our members have never been to Londonderry and are looking forward to the visit - There is so much to see around the walls, however we arrive 11am and plan to leave at 3pm so only 4 hours to cram in as much as possible - It should be interesting.

On the bus I act as quiz master - a bit of fun 50 questions on all subjects - some great crack and some unusual and very interesting answers!

Look out for the photo's on Sunday -



I have to confess that the last few weeks have been difficult: work wise of course. I have put my heart and soul into my role as a peripatetic music tutor, working on a self employed basis for the Ulster Scots Agency, since the tutor post was created in November 2008.

The schools and community groups I visit, really give you heart that the work you do is making a positive difference to people and their every day lives. For example and to give a brief synopsis of how to make a difference - with the help of others, one school - that I will not name, has been completely transformed - it regularly has music, dance, language and drama projects within the school - a school where the Principal, teachers, staff and parents thoroughly enjoy their exploration of their Ulster Scots traditions and associated cultures - really life changing experiences for all the children concerned - this can be expanded and developed throughout Ulster!


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Wednesday Trip to Lnodonderry - Garvagh

Here was my day today - Left home Bangor, 0635 am made my way to Londonderry, as you can see from the gauge it was cold -6 degrees near Maghera. I made my way up the Glenshane Pass, a quick stop for this snap - I love this view of Ulster! Proceeded to the Fountain Primary School in L'Derry for Ulster Scots tuition classes + preparing the pupils for their Ulster Scots play in 2 weeks time - and on leaving took pics of 2 x murals in The Fountain.

It was then over to Drumahoe Primary School for an excellent Ulster Scots musical workshop, then took the pic of my temperature gauge again + 18 degrees!

I then drove back to Dungiven then across to Garvagh / Aghadowey to Culcrow Primary School, where the Principal had invited me up as her children (including my whistle group) were performing and being filmed for / by BBC Scotland.

Then home to take the boy's to the BB - I'm knackered, but I hope you like the Photo's of Rural Ulster at it early Spring best.

I really enjoy my job and I am quite fortunate to see many parts of Ulster - like today.


Monday, 8 March 2010

Ulster Scots School Work - Co. Antrim

Monday Co. Antrim day for me and an early start. Leaving a very cold Bangor -5 at 0720hrs, I travelled to Garryduff Primary School -1 on my arrival.

Here are a couple of images from my travel up. Garryduff is a rural 60+ pupil School, with fantastic pupils, staff and parents - all very supportive of the Ulster Scots tuition with in their wee school.


Sunday, 7 March 2010

Old Priory - Newtownards

I was sitting in my loft today - filling in application forms, then going through some old files, I came across a disc which simply said ‘Newtownards Photo’s’ on the front, so I put the disc into my laptop and to my shock and pleasant surprise, I found 50 – 60 photo’s of Old Newtownards. Well I mean in the 40’s – 50’s – 60’s and maybe earlier.

I blogged previously about this beautiful old building ‘The Old Priory’ - well here a few snaps. From looking at the road etc early 1900’s, my how it has changed, it also looks also like the Cenotaph had not been built at that time - the Priory looks neglected with the brickwork about to collapse.

You wouldn’t want to be playing your Lambeg Drum past it back then!!!


Saturday, 6 March 2010

Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 12

There are many, many Lambeg Druming Clubs dotted around Ulster all will have their own lambeg drums.

These pair of drums belong to Ballyrobert Drumming Club, which is situated just outside Bangor. I am an Hon.Member of the club, an honour bestowed to me after I secured substantial funding for the club, from various funding bodies.

These drums were made by Denis Morrow and ribbon painted by William Magowan.


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Martin Luther King -

If you can spare 77 seconds watch this clip.

This March sees the 42nd anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Whatever your politics, you have to say that he was a wonderful orator, perhaps arguably the greatest deliverer of a speech in post war times. He had the ability to whip the crowd up into a complete frenzy.

This is a great video clip of Dr. King, when he knew his days were numbered, you can see by the look in his eye and the passion in his voice that this was his last public address, sad but life is not always fair.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. King's father was born Michael King, and Martin Luther King, Jr., was originally named Michael King, Jr., until the family traveled to Europe in 1934 and visited Germany. His father soon changed both of their names to Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant leader Martin Luther.

King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama when he was twenty-five years old.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Johnny Cash - A Legend

I read on Mark Thompson's blog a few days ago a little of Johnny Cash - he was a wonderful singer and a great favourite of my late Dad.

I was driving to Londonderry this morning and on BBC Radio 2 I think it was the Ken Bruce show, I don't normally listen to this programme but driving through the Glenshane Pass radio reception is poor - anything but Radio Foyle! - This came on - well it is a sad, sad song!

Here is a version on YouTube - not the full song but enough to grab you!

Don’t look so sad, I know it’s over, but life goes on.
And this old world will keep on turning.
Let’s just be glad we had some time to spend together.
There’s no need to watch the bridges that we’re burning.

Lay your head, upon my pillow, hold your warm and tender body close to mine.
Hear the whisper of the raindrops blowing soft, against the window.
And make believe you love me, one more time, for the good times.

I’ll get along. You’ll find another. And I’ll be here.
If you should find, you ever need me, don’t say a word about tomorrow, or forever.
There’ll be time enough for sadness when you leave me.

Lay your head, upon my pillow, hold your warm and tender body close to mine.
Hear the whisper of the raindrops blowing soft against the window.
And make believe you love me, one more time, for the good times.


Monday, 1 March 2010

Monday Morning Trip

Well, this morning I drove to Co. Antrim to work at Garryduff Primary School, then back to the Boys' Model in Belfast.

Leaving Bangor it was very cold minus -2 degrees but bright. When I reached Garryduff it was still minus -2 degrees and very foggy. Last week I stopped outside Glarryford to take a snap of Slemish, well today you could not see 25 metres in front of you!

Leaving Garryduff at 1100am it was plus +1 degrees and still foggy, when I reached the Boy's Model School in Belfast, I parked in the car park and had a bite to eat - to my shock the temperature had risen to plus +15 degrees, yes +15 degrees. I was in a sun trap, that is true -but what a difference in temperature!

I will have to remember to take my camera again!