Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Orange Order - Twelfth - Painting

Folks, this is a repost by request - it is the right time of the year!

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, who photographed professionally and copied the painting on to a canvas.

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.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Lambeg Drums - A Selection of Painted Shells 13

Here is another selection of painted lambeg drums - once again thanks to Bobby Magreechan for permission to publish some of his photo collection.

These drums have a nautical theme, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are an Island Nation and have a great Naval Tradition.

Many, many Ulster folk, have joined the Royal Navy / Merchant Navy throughout the years and this is reflected through Cultural Art on lambeg drums.



Saturday, 25 June 2011

A Pull Too Far

On my way back from the workshop / fun day in Lisburn, I stopped off to pull one of the drums I intended to use tonight. It was to be used by several young lads that I teach in Movilla High School, N'Ards on Friday's - Carrowdore tonight is to be their first experience of a drumming night.

Well as you can see my best laid plans failed - I had intended to take with me the Newtownbutler Horse, one of George Holmes drums that I bought on Wednesday, sadly one pull too many. I had just about finished was about to tie the rope off then................BANG!

Hopefully someone will take pity on me and give me and the Movilla boys a tune on their drums!


Busy Saturday

Today Saturday 25th June - I have a busy cultural day ahead.

Firstly going to Ballyrobert Orange Hall to 'pull' a few drums before going to Lower Quarter Orange Hall, for a family fun day along with Simon Menabney, we plan a fife and lambeg drum workshop, then back to Ballyrobert Orange Hall to 'pull' the drums again.

Later this evening I will travel down to Carrowdore - to Parade in the Lower Ards 'Mini Twelfth', I will parade with Ballyhalbert Orange Lodge, following the parade all the local lambeg drum enthusiasts will gather and play for a couple of hours.

Hoping for 7 - 8 drums!


Friday, 24 June 2011

Liar, Liar.

Moving away a little from my usual posts - I thought this was interesting.

Liar, Liar - Book of the week on BBC Radio 4, Born Liars - Why we can't live without deceit.

Each weekday morning this past week I have been enjoying a 15 minute radio piece on the aforementioned book review. Author, Ian Leslie names and celebrates ten of the biggest fibbers in history........ well!

During research it became quite clear that most people lie at least twice a day, however most describe their lies as 'white lies' not meant to harm, deceive or cause concern. What also became obvious and revealing was contrary to stereotype great liars tend to be highly intelligent, sociable, charming and emphatic.

Some of the greatest liars highlighted are spy Kim Philby, politician Jonathan Aitken, former US President Bill Clinton, Investment Banker Bernie Madoff............ can you add any names to this list - well certainly I could name you a few, some I would describe as Walter Mitty type characters, some compulsive liars, some confidence tricksters and some described in my previous paragraph - simply lying B*******.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Carrowdore - Drumming Night 2

Folks, due to inclement weather the drumming night planned for Friday 24th June 2011 in Carrowdore, has been moved 24 hours and will now take place on Saturday 25th June 2011, around 8.30pm.

The Upper Ards Orange District Parade will take place at 7.30pm – the drumming will commence after the termination of the Parade.
Hope to see you there – all welcome.


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Fife Preparation.

This evening I eventually had the time to sit down and clean & oil my fifes and polish my brass whistle (not neck).

With the Twelfth season almost upon us it is important to have all the equipment clean, oiled and accounted for. I oil my fifes with almond oil, it is a very light, thin oil and not too hard on the taste buds if some of the oil gets onto your lips. I tend to steep the fifes in oil for several hours, then put the cleaning rod through - careful not to move the cork.

I then set them up on their ends for an hour or so - to let the remaining oil seep out. Finally I clean the ferrells with 'Brasso' and give them a polish.

Ready for the 'Glorious Twelfth'

These 3 x fifes, African Black-wood, Holly and Laburnum - were made by Wilby Wilson from Larne, a true gentleman and gifted craftsman.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Mary Fahl - Going Home

Excellent tune from the epic American civil war film - God & Generals.


Ards F.C. - Davy Lee's

We're all 'Going Down to Davy Lees' - A trip down memory lane here!

I visited the Saturday Market in Newtownards this morning, I was spotted some distance away by Adrian Monaghan, my old pal. Aidy and I, went to Chelsea football matches, Ireland Rugby games and of course Ards football matches together.

Adrian sold me a new CD Davy Lee's - the Ards Football Fans theme song. It has sent memories flooding back of me, to the way I used to spend my Saturday's - following the famous Ards FC.

One of my oldest friends, John Loughrin - Locky is famously mentioned on the track.

Just played it several times - singing at the top of my voice, I need to be careful as I am kind of a Bangorian now!!

As Adrian says you can take a man out of Ards but you can't take ARDS out of the man!

Released just in time for Fathers Day!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Major Tom - There are too many out there!

Carrowdore Lambeggars clip 1

Carrowdore Lambeggars - clip 2

Carrowdore - Drumming Night

Everyone is invited to a traditional drumming evening - Ulster Style, in Carrowdore Village, Co. Down on Friday 24th June 2011 745 - 945pm.

We hope to have 5 or more lambeg drums there, along with a few fifers. So if you are interested you are all very welcome to come along and enjoy the night - either as a drummer, fifer, a passive enthusiast or even a member of the public.

Lets hope for a dry and mild evening - it was a great night last year, lets hope for more of the same.


Monday, 13 June 2011

Drumming at the Somme Centre

Tonight, finally, we were able to get the drums out into the open air!

On a near perfect summer evening - at the Somme Centre car parks, Loughries fife and lambeg drumming class, were able to get playing outside.

The class have worked very hard over the winter months and needed some out door playing with walking experience.

It was a great night with everyone drumming for around 2 hours with a little fifing interlude in between.

Not long to the 11th Night - 'Under the Arch in Newtown'


WW I - Ireland and the British Army

I am not sure if you, the reader, is as interested in local history around 100 years ago as I am, well there are copious amounts of information - if you know where to look.

A new favourite place of mine and Jack G's, is the newspaper library in Belfast. A great place to unwind and explore newspapers!

Here is an item that appeared in the Newtownards Chronicle back then, the numbers are quite revealing - God Save The King!!!!!


Modern Technology - 2011

Recently it has come to my attention that a few folk - who would not normally be associated with modern technology, appear to be venturing into the virtual world. Time is moving on at a very fast pace and there is no faster expanding social medium than the Internet - using social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Blogger, etc.

Folk can communicate via e-mail, text, Skype, the usual telephone systems – landline and mobile and of course there is the good old fashioned letter writing. If I have a detailed report, project or letter to send, it is usually via e-mail or hard copy by post, however if it is a short message I would usually text or Facebook personal message.

Sadly some folk rely upon unofficial word of mouth for important information, my mate told his mate and he said................ well I don’t use that method. Firstly it is unreliable and secondly you don’t have a copy of what was sent and when.

Also I think the other form of sending correspondence – via Carrier Pigeon has also ceased to take place nowadays, as with word of mouth it was notoriously unreliable......but there again some people used that method for over 40 years!

Why change!

But times have changed – move on or move out, I say!


Lambeg Drums - A Selection of Painted Shells 12

Oliver Cromwell - Legend!

Throughout the lambeg drumming tradition, many aspects of Ulster, British and Irish history are projected on the front of Lambeg Drums, many prominent figures in the military, political, religious life, Royalty - as well as the ordinary folk.

Here are 4 such drums, paying tribute to - Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector, he is commemorated throughout Ulster in recognition of his intervention during the 17th Century after the reported whole sale slaughter of innocent Protestant Settlers. History has been a little unkind to Oliver Cromwell, he was a powerful man, very able politician and very much a man of his time - like him or loathe him! My favourite quote following his route of Drogheda : -

'I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbued their hands in so much innocent blood and that it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future, which are satisfactory grounds for such actions, which otherwise cannot but work remorse and regret.'

I note that Bertie Ahern took exception to a portrait painting of Oliver Cromwell, that hung in the Office of the then British Foreign Minister - Robin Cook back in the early 1990's, ironically Bertie was in London to discuss the Northern Ireland peace process, Bertie was happy to champion the cause of the IRA/Sinn Fein - the unrepentant terrorists, responsible for the murder of many Protestant Settlers, getting into Government - Duplicity!!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Wet Summer Reading

A few weeks ago, a school I had been working in over the last while, presented me with a thank you card and a book voucher - £25.00, for helping them throughout the year.

I had intended to keep the token until September, then perhaps buy a couple of books to read up until Christmas, well with all this rain I trooped to the book store on Friday - where I bought two books of general interest to me. I had been in the local bookstore and spied a couple of books, one recently recommended to me - so here they are!

With Loughries new banner in mind, I explored a little local history around 1910 - 1921 and found the subject fascinating.

Book 1. Fred Crawford - Carson's Gunrunner.

As anyone who has studied the Home Rule Crisis in the opening decades of the 20th century will be able to tell you, tens of thousands of guns were smuggled into Ireland to arm both the Irish Volunteers and the Ulster Volunteers. Some may even be able to tell you the name of the man who masterminded the gun-running in Ulster - Fred Crawford. But how many can tell you what he was really like?

One who can is Keith Haines who, in his new book Fred Crawford, Carson's Gunrunner, throws new light on this complex man. Fred Crawford claimed that he was born an Irishman and died an Ulsterman. He was a God-fearing Christian who believed in Divine retribution yet masterminded the largest illegal shipment of arms in the twentieth century. He was a founding member of the Ulster Volunteers who protected his Catholic workers during the Troubles of the 1920s.

Keith Haines has used private and public records to paint a fascinating portrait of a complex and surprisingly cosmopolitan man, at odds with the more usual public perception. The dichotomy at the root of Fred's character is discussed and analysed in this authorative biography of the God-fearing gunrunner. Keith's meticulous research allows a man who, until now, has lurked in the shadow of Carson and Craigavon, to take centre stage and step into the light.

Book 2 Oliver Cromwell - Gods Executioner.

Cromwell spent only nine months of his eventful life in Ireland, yet he stands accused there of war crimes, religious persecution and ethnic cleansing. In a century of unrelenting, bloody warfare and religious persecution throughout Europe, Cromwell was, in many ways, a product of his times.

As commander-in-chief of the army in Ireland, however, the responsibilities for the excesses of the military must be laid firmly at his door, while the harsh nature of the post-war settlement also bears his personal imprint.

A warrior of Christ, somewhat like the crusaders of medieval Europe, he acted as God’s executioner, convinced throughout the horrors of the legitimacy of his cause, and striving to build a better world for the chosen few.


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Bonfire Presentation - Lisburn

Tonight Thursday 9th June 2011, I have been asked to give a presentation at Lisburn Civic Centre on the Fife and Lambeg Drum Tradition.

Philip Orr (Author Road to the Somme) invited me along to assist in a community relations project in Lisburn City area. The project is similar to one I spoke at in Ballymena a year or so ago, where a number of groups came together to explore various aspects of Ulster Culture.

The groups come from a Loyalist background and are looking to transform / develop their community festivals and annual Bonfires.

Philip will talk about the significance of Bonfires as a celebration, going back many century's - I will then place an emphasis on the musical tradition element of the bonfires, helping them to understand this vital part of Ulster Culture / traditions.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Country House Revealed - BBC 2

Not to bore you with too much history at this time however, the weather is so bad that I find that I am watching a little more TV than usual.

A brilliant series has been on BBC2 over recent weeks - The Country House Revealed.

Tonight Tuesday 7th June 2011 Clandeboye - There are few other houses in Britain like Clandeboye - a monument to a man whose life was like a Victorian fairy tale of adventure, and a monument to the golden age of the largest and most far flung empire the world has ever seen.

Clandeboye House and estate was, like the empire itself, an epic creation - but unlike the empire, it still endures, a vignette of a now almost forgotten age and surprisingly little altered since Lord Dufferin died in 1902.

The house is overflowing with relics from the empire and Dufferin's aristocratic adventures - stuffed baby bears, Egyptian monuments, tiger skins and weaponry from India, Canada and Burma to mention just a few, with extraordinary photographic albums that document the collecting of these unique 'souvenirs'. Clandeboye is a genuine treasure trove.


A few weeks ago it featured Kinross - a Country House in Scotland, well it was a great story told around the 17th Century, involving as usual, money, power, politics, the Church and of course the Monarchy! It is well worth a watch - click on the link below the introduction.

Series visiting houses never before open to public view. Historian Dan Cruickshank explores the stunning late 17th century property, Kinross House. Dan is granted privileged access into the world of architect Sir William Bruce, who changed the Scottish landscape by building the first fully classical house in the country.

Kinross House tells a unique story about a man imperative to the restoration of King Charles II - Sir William Bruce. A one time merchant who became one of the richest men in Scotland. With insight from Sir William's descendants, journalists and Scottish aristocracy, secrets long since forgotten are revealed, and offer an explanation into his ultimate downfall.

The programme follows the story of Kinross house from its early beginnings through to its current owners and poignant sale in 2010.


From the Archives 4

I recently began researching 2 history projects - The Anderson Family + Loughries Orange Banner - at one point in time the two events have intertwined around 1910 -1921.

Loughries Orange Lodge had members who served with distinction during the Great War, sadly 1 member - Private Lowry (Lodge Secretary) was killed in action, with other members injured. As I looked back at various strands of local history, I have been touched by the kindness and charitable nature of that generation. Despite financial hardship at home, Loughries Members were very kind and generous, by sending parcels containing food, toiletries, small items of clothing such as socks, gloves, scarves, etc, as well as letters of support.

On another recent visit to the Newspaper Library in Belfast, I came a cross this poem printed in the Newtownards Chronicle back in 1917 - by a Fletcher Hamel from the 12th Battalion RIR. I was deeply moved by the simple but kind words he expressed, which hid, I'm sure, great pain and suffering.

Please read the poem and imagine how it would have been for you - if you had been born 2 x generations before.


Monday, 6 June 2011

From the Archives 3

As time progressed the men of the Ards within the 36th Ulster Division, made their way to France - it was time for the big push.

On the eve of the attack, their Commanding Officer General Nugent, prepared all of Ulster for the imminent attack on the German lines - 'The Battle of the Somme' was about to begin for the Ulstermen.

This article appeared in the Newtownards Chronicle during the week leading up to the 1st July 1916. Again to keep the article authentic I have photographed the item and posted it, rather than retype the entry.

This was the beginning of much suffering about 'The Ards'


From the Archives 2

During a recent visit to the Newspaper Office in Belfast, I looked through the Newtownards Chronicle archives for the period around 1914.

Rather than retype the information, I felt it more authentic to photograph the paper - to give you a genuine feeling of what was being reported in the local newspaper.

I will leave it to your imagination to gauge the sway of public opinion at that time to the political situation - Home Rule Crisis - Rumour of War - National Pride.

This was what I was looking for - my Great Uncle William Anderson, I am tracing my family tree and here he is enlisting back then, sadly he was not to live to see the end of the war.

The newly enlisted men were medically examined at Newtownards Orange Hall 'The Hub' of community life at that time in Newtownards.

More to follow.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Statler and Waldorf

Sorry, can't resist, this is for all those Stadler and Waldorf type people out there!


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Ulster 1912 - Rudyard Kipling

ULSTER - 1912

"The dark eleventh hour
Draws on and sees us sold
To every evil power
We fought against of old -
Rebellion, rapine, hate,
Oppression, wrong and greed
Are loosed to rule our fate
By England's art and deed.

The faith in which we stand,
The laws we made and guard,
Our honour, lives, and land
Are given for reward
To murder done by night
To treason taught by day,
To folly, sloth, and spite,
And we are thrust away.

The blood our fathers spilt,
Our love, our toils, our pains
Are counted us for guilt
And only bind our chains -
Before an Empire's eyes
The traitor claims his price.
What need of further lies?
We are the sacrifice.

We know the war prepared
On ever peaceful home
We know the hells prepared
For such as serve not Rome
The terror, threats, and bread
In market, hearth, and field -
We know, when all is said,
We perish if we yield.

Believe we dare not boast,
Believe we dare not fear:
We stand to pay the cost
In all that men hold dear.
What answer from the North?
One Law, One Land, One Throne!
If England drives us forth
We shall not fall alone."

First published in The Morning Post, April 9, 1912

Ulster Covenant - 1912 - 2012

I have a keen interest in local history and enjoy writing bits 'n' pieces regarding issues that relate to Newtownards. I am looking back at the period just prior to the Home Rule Crisis that engulfed Ireland (as it was then) - around the period of 1910/12 which eventually - through a lot of bloodshed of The Great War and the Easter Rising, led to the formation of Northern Ireland in 1921.

There are many Orange Banners throughout Northern Ireland that depict these historical events and now - even 100 years later, many of these historical events continue to be commemorated.

Here is a banner that was recently unveiled by an Orange Lodge in Co. Fermanagh featuring the iconic moment, when Sir Edward Carson signed the Ulster Covenant at Belfast City Hall - all those years ago.

I was very taken by a speech that made last year during the platform proceeding at the ‘Newtownards Twelfth' by the then Northern Ireland Minister for Culture Arts and Leisure – Mr. Nelson McCausland MLA, Nelson told the crowd that the Ulster Covenant – seen as the ‘birth certificate for Northern Ireland’ – gave a vision for the province’s future.

He said: “It is a document that was inspired by the old Scottish covenants and it is a document that was written almost 100 years ago but the great principles that are embedded in it are still as relevant today as they were then and they will still be relevant tomorrow.

“The Covenant speaks of Britishness – those who signed the Covenant were ‘loyal subjects of the king’ and citizens of the United Kingdom.

“The Covenant speaks of the benefits of the Union – material wellbeing, civil and religious freedom – we must never forget the benefits of our position within the United Kingdom and we must seek to convince others of those benefits.”

Mr McCausland added: “The Covenant speaks of civil and religious freedom – human rights. This is not, of course, the human rights agenda of Monica McWilliams and the Human Rights Commission.

“It is not the human rights agenda of the far left. That is simply the unelected and the unelectable seeking to impose their aims without the backing of the ballot box.”

The north Belfast MLA said that the covenant spoke of “equal citizenship in the United Kingdom” and of an Ulster identity and culture.

“We should also remember that when it came to signing the Covenant the leaders of the Protestant churches were there to the fore, signing it immediately after Carson,” he said.

“We live in a day when there is an attempt to secularise our society and to sideline religious faith. That is something which we are right to resist.”

Mr McCausland said he believed those principles provided us with an Ulster manifesto.

He said: “As Ulstermen we are loyal to the Crown and to the United Kingdom. We believe in the benefits of the Union for all and the prosperity and the civil and religious liberty that it brings. Are those not the core principles of unionism and are they not principles around which all unionists can unite?

“2012 is only the start of that decade of anniversaries. We will also come to 2016, the centenary of that year when on 1 July so many of the Sons of Ulster fell at the Battle of the Somme. Their sacrifice must never be forgotten.

“That decade from 2012 to 2021, a decade that is only a few years away, is a wonderful opportunity for us to look back and be inspired by the past but it is also an opportunity to prepare ourselves to move into Northern Ireland’s second century.””

Article taken from the The News Letter 13th July 2010.

These stories need to be told, these stories need to put out into the public domain so people can read and understand a little of their history.

Social media such as Facebook, Twitter or through blogger sites such as this, have the power to reach many, many people at home and world wide - we must embrace the new technology to tell our story and our history.


King William - Prince of Orange Torbay 1688

This painting was recently up for sale at Christies in London - and was sold for around £300.00 - a snip, it would have looked well in my living room!


New Banner - Loughries True Blues LOL 1948

Are you beginning to get the theme / idea for Loughries New Orange Banner?

Well, here is another item to include in your thought process.

At the roundabout at the top of the Prince of Wales Avenue, is the statue of Lord Edward Carson. The 12ft figure stands on a granite plinth to which is attached four bronze plates depicting significant events from Lord Carson's political life.

The bronze statue by L.S. Merrifield, was financed by public subscription and was unveiled in June 1933. In a break from the norm, the statue was erected whilst the subject was still alive.

Lord Carson was a barrister, judge and politician. He was leader of the Irish Unionist Alliance and Ulster Unionist Party between 1910 and 1921, held numerous positions in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and served as a Lord of Appeal in the Ordinary.

Carson is best known locally for his oratory skills and political stance in opposition to Home Rule for Ireland at the beginning of the twentieth century, but he also came to prominence due to his involvement in many high profile legal cases, most famously in the trial of Oscar Wilde.

Upon his death, in 1935, Carson was one of the few non-monarchs to receive a United Kingdom state funeral.