Friday, March 18, 2011

Ulster-Scots understanding in 1935


This time it's the Bruces, whose role in Ulster history was acknowledged by none other than the globally-renowned National Geographic magazine in 1935.

"... a leisurely 40 minute drive over rolling country, too often hid from view by impenetrable thorn hedging, brought us to the busy little seaport of Larne. It was here Edward Bruce landed in 1315, having been sent over from Scotland by his brother Robert, who was to follow later.

All through the preceding century the English had filtered into Ulster. Counties Down and Antrim were fairly in their grasp. Counties Londonderry, Armagh and Tyrone were raided, but it is doubtful that they penetrated Fermanagh.

It was the Bruce brothers with their armies from Scotland who really made a lasting impression. After taking Carrickfergus, the key position in the North, they so undermined the English strength throughout Ulster that the native chieftains were able to reorganise. The English who remained took up Irish customs and merged with the native people. The country again reverted to Irish tribalism and Anglo-Irish feudalism...

... for Northern Ireland is close to Great Britain, especially to Scotland, which has an important bearing when the type and temperament of many of its inhabitants are considered..."

• from The Mist and Sunshine of Ulster by Bernard F Rogers Jr, in The National Geographic Magazine, November 1935. Some of the photographs in it are brilliant - you can pick up a copy fairly cheaply on eBay.