Monday, 31 May 2010

Loughries Ulster Scots Festival

Saturday 29th May 2010 good news once again dropped through the letter box of Loughries Chairman, Hamilton Gregory. Loughries had applied to Ards Borough Council -at short notice, for a mini Ulster Scots Festival Grant, through the Community Development Office (Mr. Geoffrey Porter).

The application process was extremely competitive, however Loughries were eventually successful and the planned project will be go ahead held in Newtownards in the autumn 2010.

Full details of the Festival will be advertised later this year, however Loughries are delighted that their application was successful and we see this as recognition and endorsement from Ards Borough Council for some hard and dedicated work being put in by our committed management team.

To incite your appetite – Philip Orr author and historian will provide a historical talk / lecture as will Mr. Jack Greenald; music is planned with the Lord Londonderry’s Own CLB Band, Newtownards Orange Choir, Thompson Brothers and a bus tour of the much anticipated Ulster Scots Tour of the Peninsula.

Tickets for all the planned events will be made available in good time so keep looking in for details.

This will be Loughries first attempt at a festival of sorts, we are convinced that there is an appetite for these type of events in Newtownards & Ards Peninusla area and we are determined to build on Loughries successes in recent times.


Loughries Ulster Scots Summer School 2010

Saturday 29th May 2010 confirmation came via post that once again Loughries Historical Society's Ulster Scots Summer School grant application had been successful and will be held at Castle Gardens Primary School Newtownards. This will be the fourth year Loughries have hosted the summer school, the previous three have been very, very successful and would be Loughries most exciting and high profile project.

Loughries are very fortunate that 4 x primary school teachers volunteer amongst other, their services at the school and meticulously plan the week’s events. Later this week the leaders will meet at Knott's for tea and sticky buns to prepare and develop their ideas.

The 2009 was a great success, however funding was very tight and it was thought that 2010 summer school may not happen, nevertheless Jim Millar (Director of Education) recognises the quality of Loughries summer school and assured Loughries that adequate funding was available this year and that has proven to be the case.

Loughries would like to put on record their sincerest appreciation to Mr. Jim Millar and Development Officer Mr. Derek Rainey for their hard work and endeavour in making the 2010 Summer School application process a lot more streamlined and efficient.

To recap Loughries Ulster Scots Summer School will be held the week of 26 – 30 July 2010 at Castle Gardens Primary School Bowtown Road Newtownards between 930am and 2.30pm.


Portavogie Primary School Ulster Scots Showcase

Thursday 27th May 2010, Portavogie Primary School hosted an Ulster Scots Showcase / Concert in the school assembly hall. The hall was packed to capacity both young and old in what turned out to be a brilliant night.

The show - compared by Andrew Curry (p7 teacher) commenced at 7pm, with bagpipes from Jamie Walker a past pupil of the school, this was followed by p6 & p7 tin whistle group (27 children) playing 7 tunes accompanied by Mrs Kim Spence on piano. As their whistle tutor, I must commend the children for a flawless performance, especially Amazing Grace & Skye Boat Song. Next up another local Alan Bell whistle and singer accompanied by guitar - Green Fields of France - then Kerry Jordan's dancers p6 boys, paired circle dance, p7 dance then a poem by 3 x pupils.

Next up was Peter Adair, another ex pupil, he played the side drum. Choir was up next singing, The Lord is My Shepherd, I'll tell me ma, My Aunt Jane and concluding with the very entertaining Wee Willie's lost his Marley. Jake Walker (p6) on Bagpipes followed by another local sensation Roy Oates on Accordion.

Then the much anticipated Lambeg Drummers, 6 children playing 'Loughries Time' on the Ulster Scot drum - the kids were fantastic and brought the house down, I drummed the lambeg out of the hall. The Thompson Brothers were next up performing a few tunes from their new album 'Soda Farls and Redemption Songs' I chipped in by playing along in 'Some say the Devils Deed' - the first half of the evening concluded by the P6 & P7 'Thriller Dance'

The PTA then provided a BBQ at the interval before the group Bracken took to the stage to end what was a memorable night for not only the school but the whole village of Portavogie. Well done to the staff at the school especially Andrew Curry and Kim Spence. The school was also very generous - presenting the performers with a thank you gift for their performances.

This was the second Ulster Scots showcase event I have participated in in 7 day's Castle Gardens Primary School and Portavogie Primary School. On both nights the schools were packed to capacity, with friends and family turning up to see their children perform various aspects of their Ulster Scots traditions. Also it was great to see local artists and past pupils coming along and helping their old schools.

The talk from both schools is that an annual Ulster Scots Concert may be held in both schools such has been the success of the 2 x concerts.

Making all the hard work and meticulous planning of the staff and tutors worthwhile and rewarding.


Sunday, 30 May 2010

Montalto House 3

Well, back again to Montalto House in Ballynahinch - big brother David hosted a very special 60th birthday party for a gentleman, Jonathan. My role was simple at 10pm walk in playing the Lambeg Drum and play for 4-5 minutes then walk off.

So at 10pm as the guests walked out the front of the mansion I played, immediately I stopped a 10 minute firework display then took place.

Working at the Ulster Scots Agency and having the ability to play the Lambeg Drum or the fife gets you into some interesting places! Although it was late on a Saturday night I happily agreed to take the engagement, the birthday boy, Jonathan was a flamboyant character who moved to England many years ago - the significance of the lambeg drum being that his father was a drummer many years ago in Lisburn - Jonathan has a very emotional attachment to the Lambeg Drum.

This is a story I could reciprocate time and time again. The Lambeg Drum is no ordinary drum or musical instrument it has a very strong grip on Ulster Folk - it of course is the Heart Beat of Ulster!


Saturday, 29 May 2010

Newtownards Workshop

Friday 28th May 2010 I visited Newtownards Orange Hall where I delivered a fife and lambeg drum workshop, to a group of Scottish Junior Orange and Newtownards Junior Orange, with family and friends. There were approximately 50 in attendance in what turned out to be a great night. The kids appeared to enjoy the workshop particularly at the end of the workshop where they were afforded the opportunity to play 2 x lambeg drums that I had with me, also a selection of fifes.

So, all in all a worthwhile night, it gives folks an opportunity to play, see and understand a little about the fife and lambeg drum tradition. For too long young people of this age were discouraged from playing or even going near a lambeg drum - I always make sure at my workshops that everyone who wants to play either the fife or lambeg drum gets their opportunity.


Liam Clancy - Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Another delve into the Irish Music tradition here. I consider this to be a wonderful song - an anti war song if there is such a thing. here sung by Liam Clancy with great passion and sincerity - beautiful version and in my opinion the best.

“And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” is a song, written by Scottish-born singer-songwriter Eric Bogle in 1971. The song describes war as futile and gruesome, while criticising those who seek to glorify it. This is exemplified in the song by the account of a young Australian soldier who is maimed at the Battle of Gallipoli in World War I.

The song incorporates the melody and a few lines of lyrics of "Waltzing Matilda" at its conclusion. Many cover versions of the song have been performed and recorded.
The song is often praised for its imagery of the devastation at Gallipoli. The protagonist, a rover before the war, loses his legs in the battle, and later notes the passing of other veterans with time, as younger generations become apathetic to the veterans and their cause.

In May 2001 the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), as part of its 75th Anniversary celebrations, named "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.


New Image

Well, new image my wrinkles are getting to much for me so time to go undercover!


Scenic Ulster Thursday 27th May 2010

On Thursday I took the ferry from Strangford to Portaferry on my way to Portavogie Primary School - as you can see it a very scenic part of Ulster. 'Spare ferry moored at Strangford, Cottages at Strangford Quayside and a view of Strangford from Portaferry.
I bought a new mobile phone this week, it has a 5 mil Pix - it says so good clear photo's!
Thanks for lookin in.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Scenic Ulster Wednesday 26-05-10

Cumber Claudy Primary School, is situated as its name suggests in the village of Claudy, Co. Londonderry. I visit the school on Wednesday's and tutor 37 children on the tin whistle teaching them various Ulster Scots tunes.
Well, this is the view from the playground - overlooking the Sperrin Mountains - breathtaking indeed!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Scenic Ulster Tuesday 2 - 25-5-10

Well, here we are above river Bann close to lough Neagh - this snap taken on the road between Randlestown and Portglenone, on my way to Kilrea Primary School.
2 x snaps above are of the viaduct in Randlestown Co. Antrim, it is an impressive sight as you drive through the town.

Originally called An Dun Mor - "the great fort" - Randalstown was named after the 2nd Earl and 1st Marquis of Antrim, Randal MacDonnell and has strong links to the O'Neill family. The original stronghold of Edenduffcarrick was built in the 16th century and changed ownership repeatedly until it was renamed Shane's Castle after the new owner, Shane Mc Brian O'Neill. The O'Neill family still reside within the castle and enjoy a prominent position in Northern Ireland.

In 1830 Randalstown was described as " chiefly one street extending for half a mile along the road from Toomebridge to Belfast.."By the end of the 19th century the town depended on the success of the industries based on the east bank of the river, including an iron works and the Old Bleach Linen Company which was established here in 1864.
The Charles Lanyon designed viaduct was built in 1856 to extend the railway from Randalstown to Cookstown.

In the late 1990's the top of the viaduct and part of the railway track were converted into a walkway and cycle path leading from Station Road to New Street. This development provides spectacular views of Randalstown, the River Maine and the adjoining parkland of Shane’s Castle.

The walkway on top of the viaduct links both sides of the community in Randalstown, from Station Road across to New Street. The opening ceremony for the recent works saw an Orangeman and a representative from the Ancient Order of Hibernians walk from opposite ends of the viaduct to meet in the middle.


Scenic Ulster Tuesday 25-5-10

I have been asked to include more pictures on my Blog - so here are 3 snaps from my journey through Rural Ulster ( Co. Antrim / Co. Londonderry today. As I travelled to my schools I stopped to take these snaps. 1/ River Bann at Portglenone - 2/ Bridge over River Bann at Portglenone - 3/ Glens of Antrim from just a hillside just outside Dunloy.
As you can see in late spring with beautiful sunshine - nowhere is as beautiful as Rural Ulster!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Great tune - Sands of Kuwait

Here is an excellent tune - The Sands of Kuwait. There are a number of versions of this tune on YouTube, I kind of like this one - hope you enjoy it.

The Sands Of Kuwait was a pipe tune composed following the Gulf War 1991 By LCpl Gordon MacKenzie, to commemorate the involvement of the 1st Battalion Queen's Own Highlanders(Seaforth & Camerons), in the conflict.

The Tune was written whilst LCpl Mackenzie was attending his Pipe Majors Course at the Army School Of Piping in Edinburgh Castle, from September 1990 until April 1991.

Ulster Scots Showcase Events 2

Thursday evening I attended Castle Gardens Primary School Newtownards for their Ulster Scots Spring Concert.

Around 250 people packed into the school assembly hall to attend the show with a disappointed 40 on a ticket waiting list! Honoured Guest for the evening was Jim Shannon newly elected MP for Strangford. As the audience gathered Keith Lyttle (fiddle) and Matthew Warwick (guitar) entertained the audience with some delightful music until the show was ready to commence

The concert began with senior choir then Junior choir, Junior choir sung 4 x nursery rhymes in Ulster Scots. Then 6 pupils spoke on their experience at Loughries Ulster Scots Summer School (which is held in Castle Gardens) this was accompanied by a slide show of 50 pics of the Summer School. Next up was my tin whistle group who played 5 tunes - I was very proud of them as they played very well indeed, this was followed by Keith Lyttle's fiddle group who excelled themselves - they were great. Kerry Jordan's dancers were on next and again they were excellent. 3x flautists - played 'The Londonderry Air'

The next piece was the highlight of the night for me - Ulster Scots Drama piece which was set in a school as an after school club on Ulster Scots Language it was hilarious and extremely well acted. Local Poet Wilbert Magill recited 3 of his poem and Matthew Warwick chipped in with a final poem.

Following a couple of speeches the Concert came to a close - then up to the canteen for a light supper, provided by the PTA.

To sum up - it was a terrific night for Castle Gardens School - a packed hall was treated to an evening of wonderful entertainment, the children excelled with great performances. Credit must go to the Principal of the school George Mawhinney who embraced the Ulster Scots tradition and associated cultures several years ago, when perhaps it was an unknown quantity, however George has reaped the benefit of that 'leap of faith' by having the Ulster Scots in his school.


Saturday, 22 May 2010

Local Words

Saturday 22nd May 2010, Matthew was swimming in 'Ards Gala', swimmers from all over Ulster gathered for this event.

I was standing in the queue waiting to pay, the two women in front of me were, well as women do, having a wee gossip, lady one said 'I was really scundered' and she went on to say 'he is a wee skitter that yin'

I am not a language buff, nevertheless it is always great to hear these sayings that were in use when I was reared in Newton - as they are not always used today, particularly in Bangor (always over emphasise the OR, apparently!)


Friday, 21 May 2010

Ulster Scots View.

I know many of my fellow bloggers who look in regularly enjoy the scenic views of Ulster, well on Wednesday morning on my way to the Fountain Primary School Londonderry here is the view I enjoy the most of Ulster from the top of the Glenshane Pass - sadly a very foggy at the time!


Ulster Scots School Work - Co. Londonderry

Here is another great country school - Kilrea Primary School Co. Londonderry. I began tin whistle classes in the school a few weeks ago now, the hospitality and friendship from Mrs Stinson & staff has been wonderful. The children have really taken to the Ulster Scots tin whistle class that I was asked to set up in the school, by Gary Blair - Ulster Scots Agency Development officer.
Not sure how many children attend the school but I was very impressed by the facilities, playground and gardens with in the school, a lot of obvious hard work by the staff, children & parents keeps this school in tip top condition.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Saturday 15th May 2010

Today Saturday, I settled down to watch the FA cup final. The match was fine with a great result for the blues - their first domestic double in the club's illustrious history.

However, to be honest I did not celebrate too much - as today was the 1st anniversary of my Father, Blakely Anderson's death. A lot has happened in the last 12 months and as always we all perhaps take our health for granted - and it is only when a death of a close fiend or relative occurs, that life and its volatility is put in it's true perspective.

In the Sweet Bye & Bye


Sir Thomas Smith Booklet Launch 2

Sir Thomas Smith's booklet launch took place as planned on Friday 14th May 2010 at the Londonderry Room, Town Hall, Newtownards.

The evening commenced with Keith Lyttle - Fiddler and Matthew Warwick - Guitar setting the scene for the evening with great music as the guests arrived. The lucky people, who had been invited to this special event, were welcomed by Loughries Chairman Hammy Gregory and although everyone was made equally welcome, some people deserved as special mention. Mayor of Ards Billy Montgomery, newly elected MP Jim Shannon, DECAL Minister Nelson McCausland, Mr. David Anderson MVO. MLA. Cllr. Simon Hamilton MLA, Cllr Michelle McIlveen MLA, Cllr Gibson, Laura Spence BBC and Mr. Bill Montgomery (Hugh Montgomery's descendent) I am not too sure how many guests turned up - however I estimated 70 people attended, who were either there in a private capacity or representing one of the nine local historical groups or Ulster Scots organisations.

Mark Thompson delivered a wonderful historical lecture on the 'Sir Thomas Smith Colony in 1572', Mark's PowerPoint was excellent, accurate, concise and visually stunning, I usually judge how someone is ‘performing’ by the fidgeting or noise coming from the audience – the audience were silent, captivated and intrigued and by the end of the lecture were a lot richer in knowledge than when they arrived. Following the speeches tea, coffee, shortbread & and oak cake biscuits were served, many of the folk stayed for over an hour, chatting and enjoying some great fellowship.

This was the most important event that Loughries have been involved in since our formation in September 2005 - so many people commented on how important it was to learn more of and understand our history. As Ulster Scots we continue to explore who we are and where we came from - everyone at the event were aware of the Hamilton - Montgomery settlement of 1606, but Sir Thomas Smith's venture tells the story of how Queen Elizabeth I, was keen to expand her Kingdom with the Colonisation theory this failed Colony paved the way for Messer’s Hamilton - Montgomery to plan and execute their Settlement - not Colonisation!

I forgot to take my camera with me so sadly no pictures. I on behalf of Loughries Historical Society would like extend our sincerest thanks to everyone who attended - and in their own way contributed to a great evening.

In his speech Minister Nelson McCausland commented on the wonderful work being carried out by Loughries Historical Society in the N’Ards & Ards Peninsula area and he further commented on the excellent musicianship displayed on the night by Keith Lyttle and Matthew Warwick. He went on to comment the high degree of professionalism of the Ulster Scots Schools Tutor Programme that both Keith and I have been a part of in the last 18 months - I was taken aback at this observation, but of course extremely pleased that the work we are doing on behalf of the Ulster Scots Agency, is being recognised and valued.


Thursday, 13 May 2010

Ulster Scots Showcase Events

Two primary schools that Keith, Kerry and I work in, are planning showcase events in the coming week.

1/ Castle Gardens Primary School in Newtownards are planning an Ulster Scots Concert in the school on Thursday 20th March 2010 at 730pm - the event will take around an hour and will commence with Keith Lyttle and Matthew Warwick playing some traditional Ulster Scots Music to set the scene for the evening - the school choirs, senior & junior will take to the stage and perform a few songs, next up are children giving their experiences of Loughries Ulster Scots Summer School - held each year at Castle Gardens School, this will be followed is my whistle players and Keith Lyttle's Fiddlers. We have selected 7 tunes for the children to play and we are looking forward to the performance. Kerry Jordan's dancers and on next for some Ulster Scots dance - Matthew Warwick, brief historical talk with local poet Wilbert Magill receipting some poetry, this will be followed by a short drama performed by the drama section. The evening will conclude will communal singing - with a light supper provided later by the PTA.

2/ Portavogie Primary School are preparing for a school / community concert in the school on Thursday 27th May 2010 at 730pm. I am not too sure of the line up for the evening however my role is to prepare the children for 2 x performances - tin whistle group will perform 6 tunes and the lambeg drumming section 9 children will perform drum solo's (this will be fun and noisy) if I get more details I will post them later.

I have the Castle Gardens showcase plan as I was given a running order this afternoon, when I arrived for my practice with the children.

These showcase events are a vital tool when promoting the work that we as peripatetic music and dance tutors do for the Ulster Scots Agency - in schools. It is also a great opportunity for the parents, family and friends to see their children perform - perhaps for the first time - on stage!

A lot of praise must be given to the hard working teachers who put their children and their needs first - as this will always have a positive impact for the schools.

Reports to follow


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Scorpions - Wind Of Change

Here is another favourite tune of mine - it is timeless, as the world is forever changing. This song was written at the time of the fall of communism in Russia / Germany and Eastern Europe.

This week sees a new British Government coming into power and yes the wind of change is blowing once again -


Excellent T.V Program

Just watched this program on BBC Parliament channel - very interesting indeed. I am reasonably interested in politics, however this program caught my eye and very well presented by Sally Magnusson. If you have an hour to spare you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Champions - Chelsea FC

Well we conquered - Congratulations to Chelsea F.C crowned Champions of England 2009-2010 season.

Not quite edge of the seat, nail biting or hide behind the pillow match nevertheless it was a very satisfying 8 - 0 home win against Wigan. Already so called pundits are claiming Chelsea lost too many game to be true champions - sour grapes as usual.

Lets pay tribute to a magnificent team worthy champions. I celebrated with a glass of Diet Coke and 8 loud cheers.

Looking forward to next Saturday when we lift the FA Cup to make it a wonderful season for all our fans world wide.



Saturday, 8 May 2010

Ulster Scots Musical Traditions at Movilla Boys Brigade 2

I had blogged a while back about 9th Ards BB Company, Movilla Presbyterian Church in Newtownards - well Friday 7th May was the big night for the boy's their annual display.

Over recent months I had been attending mostly on a Friday evening teaching the Company Section a few rhythms in preparation for their display. This particular BB Company are a very dynamic innovative group, keen to try new ideas each year - this year it was the Ulster Scots through the Lambeg Drum. In front of a packed hall of family, friends and guests, the Company Section put on a great display of Lambeg Drumming - to great cheers from the audience. In his closing remarks the guest of honour for the evening Mr. George Forrester (Vice President of Ards Battalion) commented that it was 'truly unique and a wonderful treat for the boy's of Company Section to have been afforded the opportunity to learn to play, then display tonight what they had been taught on the lambeg drum - it is really great to see'

To be truthful I was quite apprehensive how the audience wold receive the lambeg drum being played in a church hall at a BB display - I am very conscious of the negative publicity the drum has received in recent years - however it was very well received and for many the highlight of the night. I believe it is through outreach work in schools, community groups and other organisations that lambeg drumming - through the Ulster Scots can help to change perceptions.

For my work with the boy's I was presented with a BB wooden pen set engraved ' steadfast & sure' As an ex BB lad myself, I was delighted to have been afforded the opportunity to work 9th Ards BB in this unique project, it was successful in a number of ways not least that several of the boys now come to my lambeg drum, fife & whistle classes at Movilla High School on a Friday morning.

All you can do is to keep chipping away!


Sir Thomas Smith Booklet Launch

Friday 14th May 2010 at the Londonderry Room, Town Hall, Newtownards, sees the launch of the much anticipated booklet launch 'Sir Thomas Smith's Forgotten English Colony of the Ards & North Down in 1572'

For several weeks now plans have been laid for what we hope will be not only a great night but also a significant event for Loughries Historical Society - We have been deeply honoured that Mr. Mark Thompson, Local Historian, wanted to publish his booklet in partnership with Loughries.

Before Hamilton & Montgomery Settlement of May 1606 English Aristocrat and trusted friend of Queen Elizabeth 1, Sir Thomas Smith - was granted 360,000 acres of land in North East Ulster in order that he set up a Colony there, this is his story. We as Ulster Scots are keen to explore who we are, when our forefathers arrived here, Smith's Forgotten Colony is an ideal starting point.

Tickets have been forwarded to many local folk, so if you are lucky enough to have been invited along, you will be sure of a great night (50 - 60 guests expected). On arrival you will be greeted with some Ulster Scots Music - courtesy of Mr Keith Lyttle on Fiddle and Matthew Warwick on various instruments. Guests of honour - DECAL Minister Nelson McCausland and Mayor of Ards Cllr Billy Montgomery. Speaking on behalf of Loughries will be Chairman Hamilton Gregory, followed by the official launch by Mr. Mark Thompson who will provide a PowerPoint and talk on his wonderful booklet. At the conclusion of the launch tea - coffee - shortbread and oak cakes will be provided.

Loughries Historical Society would like to acknowledge the support afforded to us by the funders Ards Borough Council - North Down Borough Council - Museum and the Ulster Scots Community Network who all assisted in the publication of the booklet.

feel this project of Sir Thomas Smith is as important as the Hamilton & Montgomery settlement of 1606 - so plans are at an advanced stage to develop this historical project into a learning tool for all the primary and post primary schools in the North Down, Newtownards and Ards Peninsula area - there has been a keen interest from a number of schools already in the area seeking to develop local history projects in their school. Work is at hand developing PowerPoint's, Web Site interactive learning tools and appropriate literature. All thanks to the Heritage Lottery.

Local newspaper the Newtownards Chronicle and County Down Spectator are keen to serialise the booklet in the coming weeks in their paper - so exciting times ahead for local Ulster Scots.


Much deserved praise:

In recent weeks my work load has increased by 4 schools per week - in areas all over Ulster, so I feel it is right and proper that I congratulate 3 of the Development Officers at the Ulster Scots Agency for their hard work and endeavour - Derek Rainey North West Ulster - Jane Wallace South & West Ulster and Gary Blair North East Ulster. All are hard working, honest and committed Ulster Scots people, who with out them, my work would be a lot more difficult. So my sincerest thanks are extended to them.

The schools are all primary schools - who have availed of the Ulster Scots Peripatetic Music Tutor project and I look forward to working in these schools delivering tin whistle and lambeg drum tuition in the coming weeks and months.

Picnic at Mount Stewart

Saturday 8th May 2010 we had a family afternoon out to Mount Stewart, on the shores of Strangford Lough - Mount Stewart is a National Trust property and I would describe the Estate as the Jewel in the Crown of 'The Ards'
On arrival we had a picnic (picture 1 was the view we had as we ate lunch). We are members of the N.T. and regular visitors here - today was an exhibition of model airplanes by 'Skybird' a local model aircraft society. There were 21 exhibitors displaying some amazing model aeroplanes (picture 2 red arrows display team plane) with a flight display every hour on the hour. It was a great afternoon with a large crowd of folk enjoying the beautiful weather and beautiful surroundings.
Picture 3 is of Scrabo Hill and Tower that overlooks the town of Newtownards at the mouth of Strangford Lough - this view is from the area of 'Anderson Hill at Ballywatticock' - perhaps there is some family connection there!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Beautiful Dreamer (Stephen Foster)

There have been many cover versions of this tune by the great Stephen Foster - from The Beattles to Marti Robbins - here is a gentle version of a wonderful gentle tune.


Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 14

The Pride of Drumadonald - Dolly's Brae - Drum owned by George Priestly, Rathfriland.

There is a great tune 'South Down Malitia' and an Orange song 'Dolly's Brae'.

Dolly's Brae is a road with a difficult pass in County Down. On July 12, 1848, a large assembly of Ribbonmen gathered with the intent of stopping the traditional march of Orangemen to Tollymore. The Orangemen were forewarned and avoided the Brae that year. Naturally, the opposition had a field day with that and songs appeared about their cowardice. So in 1849, the Orangemen went through the Brae without problem. On the return from Castlewellan, they were ambushed at the Brae. They were prepared for such an eventuality and their return fire dropped over a score of men, without sustaining any losses themselves.

Dolly's Brae was an exclusively Catholic village, and the Orange Order had never marched through it before. The government had been warned that in 1849 they had decided to use this route and, in anticipation of the likelihood of trouble in Dolly's Brae, they sent a company of dragoons, additional police, and magistrates to the village. They allowed the march to go ahead, however. The march through Dolly's Brae on the morning of the twelfth was peaceful, even though the Orangeman were described as being "armed to the teeth" and they sang anti-Catholic songs as they passed through the village.

The dead included Hugh King, a 10-year-old who died of gunshot wounds, and Anne Taylor, an 85-year-old woman whose death was caused by her skull being struck with a blunt instrument. In the afternoon, the Orange lodges from the surrounding areas met at the estate of Lord Roden in Castlewellan, he urged them to "do their duty as loyal, Protestant men." About 1,500 Orangemen returned through Dolly's Brae in the evening. By this stage, about 500 Catholics had gathered in the village, armed with muskets or pikes. The conflict was triggered by the firing of a single gunshot, later reports attributed it to the Catholic side. The fighting was swift and brutal, but the military and constabulary initially did not get involved in the conflict or attempt to stop it. By the time they did intervene, ten houses and the Catholic Church had been burnt to the ground. Five Catholics also had been killed and nine others badly wounded. The dead included Hugh King, a 10-year-old boy who died of gunshot wounds, and Anne Taylor, an-85-year-old woman, whose death was caused by her skull being struck with a blunt instrument. Thirty-five Catholics were arrested, but no Orangemen.

The incident at Dolly's Brae quickly became embedded in unionist mythology as a significant victory of Protestantism over Catholicism. Lord Roden was proclaimed the hero of the day. A long-term consequence of the incident at Dolly's Brae was the passing of a Party Processions Act in 1850 that banned the July 12th marches in Ireland. This legislation had only limited success. Some marches continued to be held and in 1857, 1864, and 1867 they were accompanied by violent sectarian fighting. On each occasion, the police, the military, and the government proved reluctant to intervene to stop the parades, even though they were illegal. Instead, in 1872 the marches were again made legal as a way of appeasing Orangemen in Ireland.


Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drums 13

This drum is of Oliver Cromwell - called Cromwell the Terror of Killylea - owned by Gary Brown.

A little of Cromwell - Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658) was an English military and political leader best known for his involvement in making England into a republican Commonwealth and for his later role as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

He was one of the commanders of the New Model Army which defeated the royalists in the English Civil War. After the execution of King Charles I in 1649, Cromwell dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England, conquered Ireland and Scotland, and ruled as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death from malaria in 1658.


Monday, 3 May 2010

Blue is the Colour

Well, if you are like me and a life long Chelsae supporter, then the last few weeks have been exhilarating. The Blues have a knack of keeping their loyal and trusted supporters on edge right until the last minute - so here we go again.

Chelsea deserve to win the Premiership this season and I am confident they will lift the trophy on Sunday - and yes lift the FA Cup as well in the coming weeks.

In the 1990's I was a regular at 'The Bridge' in the infamous 'Shed End' cheering on the blues. I met many characters and had great times - I have not been at the Bridge since 1999 - by choice. I tended to misbehave very badly - so best to stay at home and be a good boy and watch the matches from the comfort of my own living room chair - only occasionally, annoying the neighbours with a loud roar from time to time!

Come on the Blues - The champagne is cooling!


Planting 2

Well, planting completed in the main vegetable patch - 15 drills of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beetroot and spring onions all in the ground awaiting rain and heat.

Around the walled part of the garden I have all the onions, garlic, beetroot, leeks shallots - they are coming on well now after the rain in recent days.
I have a few Ulster recipes that I would like to try this year using some of the items I planted, garlic and scallion potato bread sounds good!

New Image

I thought I would have a go at growing a goattie beard in the last few weeks -here it is. What do you think? I had a lot of strange looks, whispering and some great laughs with the children in schools, not to mention funny comments at home.

Well the experiment lasted 3 weeks - I shaved it off tonight and I feel rather bare with nothing to scratch when I rub my chin!

I spoke to Mrs Anderson face to face after tea, then went up to the bathroom, shaved it off and came back down - continued my chat and yes, Mrs A did not notice I had shaved it off -ah well.


Saturday, 1 May 2010

Ulster Scots Musical Traditions at Movilla Boys Brigade

Movilla Boys Brigade in Newtownards has taken the unusual step of adding a little 'Musical Tradition' to their Annual Display Night. Over the recent weeks I have been working with the Company Section, firstly providing a workshop on traditional Fife & Lambeg Drum, then a series of tuition classes on the lambeg drum, with the objective of working towards a performance at their display night.

The boys have worked very hard and have had great fun learning something new - some of the boys have enjoyed the classes at the BB so much, that they have subsequently been attending classes at Movilla High School in Newtownards, that I commenced within the school recently.

Friday 7th May sees is their display night - so this coming week I will be up at the Church for a practice of two ironing out minor problems with the drummers, but I am confident the boys will perform very well for their friends and family.

This has been an unusual class - in that not many churches or organisations connected to a Church have yet come forward to embrace or explore Ulster Scots Activities, however in time I am confident that this will change, as the Ulster Scots Tradition and associated Cultures becomes more mainstream.