I have been looking through some of Loughries Historical events, since our formation back in September 2005 and came across this photo (see below).
In the early days we (Loughries) decided to go back in time to the beginning of the local Ulster Scots story - in the 'Great Ardes' - known as the Hamilton / Montgomery Settlement of 1606, or known locally as 'The Dawn of the Ulster Scots'
As with all local history, the more you explore the more you want to know and this has been true for Loughries and me personally. With the help of local knowledgeable folk - like the gentlemen in the photo below, we have developed a better understanding of who we are and where we came from. We have developed a better understanding of the way we talk, how we play our music and well do all the things we do - in every day life.
Again in the early day's of Loughries Historical Society, Michael McCullough (Director at Ulster Scots Agency) had a vision for Ulster Scots Summer Schools, we at Loughries planned and developed the summer school that Michael had envisaged - music & dance, local history, language, arts & crafts, football, cookery - all rolled into a fun week for the children. Now 5 years later Michael's dream is still going, Loughries is one of the premier Ulster Scots Summer Schools in Ulster.
To have a successful summer school, or any Ulster Scots event, you need help from local experts, no fake or as we say in Ards no impostors welcome! In Newtownards and the Ards Peninsula we have the real deal, fantastic history, wonderfully talented musicians, great Ulster Scots speakers etc. We have a number of great exponents of the Ulster Scots Language and seasoned poets & story-tellers a couple of whom are pictured below - Mr Willie Cromie and Mr Willie McAvoy.
Both men have brought the Ulster Scots Language to life made it fun, interesting and accessible to many including folk like me. I am not an Ulster Scots speaker - I do enjoy a good yarn or poem and I do feel that there is a place for the language in everything that we in Loughries do, summer schools, festivals, musical night, Burns suppers, etc. Loughries are fortunate, that we have some great friends and contacts - that can deliver high quality authentic Ulster Scots material.
L to R Willie Cromie - Mark Thompson - Willie McAvoy - the late George Holmes