Friday, 30 July 2010

Loughries Ulster Scots Summer School 2010 - 2

Well, 'when the show is over it is time to leave the stage', famous words of a great man - former British Prime Minister John Major.
Today, Loughries Ulster Scots Summer School came to a close. Just prior to this photo being taken, 62 school children aged between 4 and 12 with around 100 parents/family packed into the assembly hall for a farewell showcase event.
The children performed music, tin whistle, fiddle and bagpipe - history project for the week was Helen's Tower and Scrabo Tower, the children researched information and recited this on stage. Famous Person this week was Rabbie Burns, again research was carried out and facts told on stage about the life and times of the bard - Scottish Country Dances were performed by 2 x age groups and number of Ulster Scots nursery rhythms were performed by the under 7's actions and all. Final speech by me thanking everyone etc, etc. the end of a great week.
All the leaders and I are shattered, it was a brilliant week, everyone enjoyed themselves, we did not loose any children, no injuries and we did not burn the school down!
The fourth year of Loughries Ulster Scots Summer School at Castle Gardens Primary School and another wonderful event organised by a fabulous group of volunteers. Oh yes and 3-4 minutes on the BBC Newsline at 630 this evening and page 13 in the Newsletter - not too bad!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Ulster Scots Summer School

Yesterday, Loughries Ulster Scots summer school began as planned. This is the fourth year of the summer school and each year it gets better and better. Everyday around 60 children attend the event at Castle Gardens School and we plan a series of events for the children, aimed at developing their understanding of the Ulster Scots tradition and associated Cultures.

This year our summer school has been chosen by the Agency to be Inspected by the EDI Education Inspectorate. Today we have had a visit by Mr. Jim Millar, Director of Education who was very impressed by the facilities, quality of the professionalism of the leaders, the planning and overall standard of the summer school . We see as a vote of confidence not only for the summer school, but for the work that we at Loughries Historical Society put into promoting the Ulster Scots Tradition in Newownards.

Wednesday is our day trip away and this year we are visiting Delamont Country Park at Killyleagh in County Down. The children play in the large out door play park, go for a long environmental walk, ride on the train and receive an Ulster Scots Living History presentation by Andrew Mattison.

Thurday will see a visit by Mr. Nelson McCausland MLA, DECAL Minister. We are delighted that he has chosen Loughries Summer School to explore the work that an Ulster Scots summer schools - as around 30 are planned and take place throughout Ulster each year.

Friday will see a showcase event - where the children get a chance to display their work - such as crafts, cookery, art and also their skills such a music, song & dance, poetry, history and other wee bits n pieces in front of their family and friends. Last year 118 Adults turned up to see the showcase which was a great success - and this year, fingers crossed all will go to plan!

I would sincerely like to publish some pictures of the summer school, however with child protection issues I feel it is best not to post any. In my next post I will list events and activities that took place during the summer school week in order to give you an opportunity to read the diverse and wonderful activities that take place at our event.


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Scrabo - 18th Birthday Party.

One of my Niece's - Johanna, reached the age of 18 and a party was arranged to celebrate her birthday on Saturday 24th July 2010 - It was held at Scrabo Golf Club on the Outskirts of Newtownards.
The view from the Club House is Spectacular and one of my favourite views in Ulster. Here is a picture taken from the car park - and a picture taken of the first tee box and two rascals enjoying a bit of R+R - before we were asked to 'get off the course' - Oops!

Saturday, 24 July 2010


When you are out and about, you never know who you might bump into!
DECAL Minister Nelson McCausland was the guest speaker at the Newtownards Orange Demonstration on the 'Twelfth', I stopped for a moment or two for a chat, I also took the opportunity to introduce Simon - seen here with me, he is one of the students I teach at the Boy's Model School.
Thanks to Billy Neill for the snap.

BBC - BBC Radio Ulster Programmes - Robin's Readings

BBC - BBC Radio Ulster Programmes - Robin's Readings:

"The Adventures of Paddy McQuillan -

'Robin's Readings' were first performed in the 19th century as a series of humorous monologues.

They were created by the County Down writer, WG Lyttle who was born in 1844. After his death in 1896, he was buried in the grounds of Bangor Abbey where his memorial describes him as: '… a brilliant and graceful writer… and a true son of County Down'.

As well as being the author of ‘Daft Eddie’ and ‘Betsy Gray’, Lyttle was above all an entertainer. He most often appeared at social gatherings in the guise of his alter-ego 'Robin', a jovial country farmer from the fictitious Ballycuddy in County Down, who regaled his audiences in Ulster-Scots.

The scripts from these performances were subsequently collected and published in 1879 as ‘Robin’s Readings’. The stories recount the adventures and mishaps of Paddy McQuillan, a cheerful but unfortunate farmer. There’s a real warmth and humour in these stories - even though they're about 150 years old. What comes across is the sense of a close, rural community sharing in each other’s joys and troubles.

Lyttle wrote in authentic Ulster-Scots, which was spoken throughout the Ards Peninsula - and many of the participants in this radio series are native Ulster-Scots speakers who bring the language to life again."


Pencil Drawing

A friend of mine, Billy Neill recently visited one of our drumming events, Billy is always one to 'doodle' a bit. Here he has spent some time and produced a pencil drawing of - well you know who!

As you can see I am always smiling - well, when I drum I concentrate - listening to the other drummers, so I can keep up with them usually.

Billy has painted and drawn a number lambeg drum themed portraits, all excellent and worth a view. I hope to have an event in 2011 in the Town Hall Newtownards on the lambeg drumming tradition and hopefully, Billy will have a display of his work at the event.


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

You Tube Simon + Myself drumming on 12th

Fame at last - Simon and myself drumming the Beggar Man on the 'Twelfth' in Newton.


Lurgan Black

I am off on Holiday's tomorrow 14th July to 22nd July and yes, I forgot to get 'new clothes'. So I nipped into Bangor to get a few bits n pieces, as I dandered around a few shops I heard some music - I walked outside and watched an excellent Parade by Lurgan Black.
A short time later I spoke with a man who was the District Master of Bangor Black, I knew who he was but did not really know him. He asked if I would help out Holywood District Orange next year in the field on the platform - I thought he wanted me to drum or fife, he then asked if I would read a passage of scripture as part of their service - I am not qualified for than and explained I did not hold office in the Orange, he then asked was I not the Reverend Anderson? Well, we both had a chuckle when we realised it was mistaken identity!


Loughries - 'Glorious Twelfth' 3

I sadly did not walk with the Lodge and the band much of the day, instead my lambeg drumming talents lay elsewhere - I walked with another local Lodge Rising Sons of William LOL 240.

What was very pleasing for me was that LOL 240, very kindly allowed two of my drumming students to visit and play the drums for the Lodge. This photo is of Simon and Johnny warming up before the parade commenced.

I once again had a great day drumming with LOL 240 – I was even allowed to fife a couple of tunes!


Loughries - 'Glorious Twelfth' 2

This year the Lodge was accompanied by a local flute band from Newtownards, William Strain and William Lightbody Melody Flute Band.

Throughout the day the band played brilliantly, their flute playing was crisp and clear supported by an excellent drum core, we at Loughries were delighted to have been on parade with such a well behaved, and musically talented band.


Loughries - 'Glorious Twelfth' 1

The Newtownards 'Twelfth' once again has proved why the town is a perfect venue for the North Down Orange Demonstration. The crowds of people thronged the full length of the Parade was incredible all watching on as the procession made its way through the streets of Newtownards.

Loughries had 17 members on Parade, sadly a few were on holiday or we would have had a full turn out. We met at the CLB hall in Newtownards at 0900am for refreshments tea, coffee soft drinks and sandwiches etc, - teetotal event for Loughries!

At the field we were entertained by some interesting speeches from the platform party including one from DECAL Minister Nelson McCausland. It has been quite some time since on the 'Twelfth' that I heard such a rousing and well worded speech, appreciated by a large crowd who cheered and shouted their support.


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Irish School of Ecumenics

On Friday I was invited By Philip Orr to give a talk of the fife & lambeg drum tradtion to a group of students at the Irish School of Ecumenics - Trinity College Dublin on the Antrim Road, Belfast.

It was a very informative afternoon and something I enjoyed very much. There were 24 students from all over the world there researching the 'Twelfth' in Ulster. They asked a lot of probing questions - some quite personal about me, my work, my beliefs and tradition, but I suppose the more questions asked the more information I was giving. My PowerPoint went down well, and they all enjoyed their chance to play the Lambeg Drum!
The students are at an Orange Hall today, bonfire tonight, then visiting the Belfast Twelfth on Monday.


Orange Church Service

Today Sunday, I attended to Orange Church Service in the Methodist Church, Regent Street, Newtownards, which was packed to capacity for what turned out an excellent service.

The Minister Rev. Cooper conducted a great service which was simple, uncomplicated but very thought provoking. I had not been in a Methodist Church before today - strict Presbyterian me, perhaps I should broaden by horizon's somewhat!



Well having spent a week - helping to get 5 drums ready to play under the Orange Arch in Newtownards, all was in vain. It turned out cold, windy and very very wet. It rained from 2pm Saturday until I went to bed at 1am Sunday. Having prepared the drums we went to N'Ards and sat looking at the rain from the front of my van - depressed. But there you go.

Here are a few snaps of the drums ready to go.


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Visit to Killyneather

We visited Killyneather Forest Park, which is just behind Scrabo Tower/Hill on the outskirts of Newtownards. We were blessed with great weather and as you can see from this family photo - great views of the North Down Countryside towards Comber and Dundonald.

Visit to Newton

On Saturday I took the boy's to Londonderry Park, Newtownards, to play in their play park, whilst there a pony and trap event was in progress. It was very impressive watching these beautiful animals display such grace and controlled power.

The boy's were fascinated.


Ulster Scots - Lambeg Drum Booklet

A short time after I started working on behalf of the Ulster Scots Agency, I was asked by the Ulster Scots Community Network to assist in a project 'The Lambeg Drum'.

Together with Denis Morrow - Drum Maker, Matthew Warwick - USCN and myself, we put together a great booklet, again a quality product with excellent photographs, well designed on parchment type paper.

I didn't want to be on the front cover - as I am not egotistical, however the photo on the front cover taken at Nendrum turned out well.

A copy of the booklet can be obtained from the Ulster Scots Community Network in Belfast.


When Ulster Sailed West

A publication I enjoyed reading recently 'When Ulster sailed west' published by the Ulster Scots Community Network. It tells the story of a number of Ulster Scots, Scots Irish - who have had a major influence in America. Very well researched with excellent photographs and in quality print.

A copy can be obtained by contacting the Ulster Scots Community Network in Belfast.


Loughries - Visit by MP

Well, sadly no photograph yet (post one later) Loughries fife and lambeg drum class, which is held on a Monday evening, had a very distinguished visitor.

On Monday 5th July 2010 our class was graced by the presence of our local MP Jim Shannon. Jim has been a keen supporter of Loughries Historical Society - he has visited a number of our events, and on the run up to the 'Twelfth Celebrations' Jim payed us a visit.

We had a almost a full showing from the class as well as a few visitors, but what struck Jim was the number of young lads who are turning up each week learning these traditional instruments. In his brief speech Jim payed tribute to Loughries dedication to everything Ulster Scots, Burns Suppers, history projects, summer schools and in this case traditional music, he complimented us on our initiatives and wished us well in out endeavours to promote and develop the fife and lambed drum tradition.

Whilst I was hob-nobbing with MP's in Newtownards by big mate - Keith Lyttle was up at Stormont with DECAL Minister Mr. Nelson McCausland and a host of American visitors whilst being recorded by the BBC.

We are both almost at Celebrity status! However we both get a thrill when promoting the Ulster Scots traditions - in all it forms, and in a highly professional manner, which is greatly appreciated by those, such as Jim Shannon MP, Nelson McCausland MLA, who help by promoting and developing our Culture, when the opportunity presents itself.


Friday, 2 July 2010

Lambeg drum and fifes in carrowdore 2010

Folks, this appeared on YouTube recently, so thanks to the person who took the time to post the video.

You can hear the fifes half way through the video, when the wind changed direction! The tune is 100 pipers - a famous tune originating in Scotland and used in the fife and drum tradition here in Ulster.

Mark T has also posted a couple of clips on YouTube - I will upload them soon.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Girl I Left Behind Me

Here is my favourite fifing tune - played here by a stringed group.

A very rousing tune perfect for fifing to the lambeg drum - as the drummers can quicken their rhythm and increase their volume.

Maybe on the run up to the 'Twelfth' I will post a video of us drumming and fifing!


Somme Commemoration Parade

Tonight I attended the Somme Commemoration Parade in Newtownards - it was a very enjoyable parade. My Orange Lodge, Loughries True Blues 1948 were accompanied by the Portaferry Accordion Band, who to their credit played very well. They played a number of excellent medley's of traditional Ulster Scots tunes as well as Orange Tunes - my favourite of course 'the Hills of Carrowdore.

A cousin of my Grandfather was killed at the Somme and his name is on the Cenotaph close to the British Legion in Newtownards, where we paused for a short wreath laying service.

There was a very good turn out of local Newtownards Folk to watch the Parade which is always encouraging.

A few Pics to follow.