Tuesday, January 06, 2015

2015 - two important Ulster-Scots Centenaries

On my drive home yesterday I heard a piece on Radio 5 Live about English Heritage and seven important centenaries they are marking this year. As far as I can see, the Ulster-Scots world has two in 2015:

Edward Bruce 700 The 700th anniversary of the arrival on 26 May 1315 of Edward Bruce's Bannockburn army at Larne Lough, the start of a 3 1/2 year campaign in alliance with the Ulster O'Neills to oust the Anglo-Normans from Ireland. It's a story that places the Ulster-Scots connection 300 years before the Settlements and Plantations of the 1600s, and yet in a sense it paved the way for them both - when King James VI & I of Scotland succeeded in 1603 to become King of everywhere - an objective which had eluded King Robert the Bruce of Scotland in the early 1300s. A Facebook group has been set up for Friends of Edward Bruce 700.

Archibald McIlroy 100 The centenary of the death of perhaps the finest, and most commercially successful, Ulster-Scots 'kailyard' writer. McIlroy (1857–1915) was onboard the SS Lusitania when it was torpedoed and sank off the west of Ireland on Friday 7 May 1915. A total of 1198 people drowned, 11 miles from Kinsale. Legend has it that McIlroy was carrying the manuscript of his 'magnum opus' to present to publishers in Belfast. On the centenary evening on Thursday 7th May, former Presbyterian Church in Ireland Moderator the Very Rev Dr Donald Patton is giving a lecture on McIlroy at Union Theological College for the annual Robert Allen Lecture for the Presbyterian Historical Society, of which Dr Patton is the current Chairman. Here's a link to the Ulster-Scots Language Society's bio of McIlroy.

There are probably more centenaries than these two, but these are the two big yins.