(Thanks to Geoff!) I was sent a BBC iPlayer link to this new Irish language series earlier this evening, telling the story of the early Scots settlements in Ulster in the 1600s. Some nuancing here and there could have been improved (the description of Hamilton & Montgomery as 'thugs' is bizarre to the point of being almost laughable) but in the main I must give credit to the producers. They've taken time to understand the stories and have put them across with far more sensitivity and respect than most other programmes (and organisations) tend to.
You can watch the programme by clicking here - as it's in Irish, be prepared for 40 minutes of caption reading, apart from some contributions from non-Irish speakers. I would be interested in readers' comments. And yes, my name is mentioned in the credits at the end, because I supplied a few still images to the production company a while ago. It is perhaps a wee bit dry and slow in places for some viewers, but overall I definitely prefer accuracy and quiet respect over entertainment any day.
I am glad that Hamilton & Montgomery, and the early Presbyterian ministers, are increasingly an accepted part of Ulster's cultural narrative. Just six years ago, in 2005, hardly anybody outside of devotees had a baldy notion about them. 2006 was the 400th anniversary of the start of their settlement here, and I am thankful to everyone who helped me to tell that story during my first full year as Chair of the Ulster-Scots Agency, and also those who worked hard with me on 'The Covenanters in Ulster' project during 2008. I am also glad that through this new programme, the Irish language community has had an opportunity to better understand the first generation Scots' experience in 1600s Ulster.
I'm looking forward to seeing future episodes of this series - I hope they are as strong as this first one.
(ps - shame about the mistaken 'Robert Hamilton' reference, which should of course have been Rev James Hamilton)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Posted by Mark Thompson at Tuesday, November 22, 2011