Saturday, September 23, 2017

Murdoch Nisbet, Scotland's Forgotten Reformer and Linguist.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

“Moonshine & Thunder – The Junior Johnson Story” - “moonshine and its Scotch-Irish history, and how NASCAR grew.”

This article from The Tribune of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, is interesting. More details here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ballyhalbert Orange Hall, 1972

Thanks to Jackie for sending this find! This is my dad, out fixing up the roof of the hall when I was about 3 months old!

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What Is The Gospel? - Ray Cortese

I love this talk. He nails it every step of the way. Hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The 'Ulster Reunions' in Glasgow, 1882–1912 / Gustav Wolff and our three-stranded identity

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Around the same time of the annual Scotch-Irish Society of the USA gatherings in America, there were similar events in Glasgow. The first of these was in 1882 but the earliest record I can find is of the sixth one, held on Friday 9th December 1887 in the Grand Hall of the Waterloo Rooms (shown above), under the auspices of the Antrim and Down Benevolent Association. The Waterloo Rooms were the ‘re-brand’ for the former Wellington Church in Wellington Street; around 1910 the new Alhambra Theatre was built on the site.

The great and the good were there. Lord Kelvin had chaired the 1886 meeting; he spoke at the 1887 event, commenting on his ancestry and his childhood spent around Conlig and Bangor. Thomas Sinclair also gave a speech. There was a lot of Unionist sentiment in the few speeches I've seen, which of course was typical of the time. Psalms were sung, common ancestry and industrial interests were celebrated. Even W G Lyttle gave some performances. Rev Thomas Somerville, the minister of Dennistoun Blackfriars in Glasgow, commented that when on a visit "to a little place outside Ballymena, he was astonished to find Scotch spoken far more purely than they had it in Glasgow".

Gustav Wolff chaired the 1895 event - in his speech he recalled arriving at Ballymacarrett over 30 years before, remembering that 'the cottages were strawroofed, and there were handloom weavers in nearly every one of them', and so much praise given to the subsequent growth of Belfast, and the industrial success of Ulster in contrast to the rest of Ireland. He went on:

'... It is not any natural advantage we have; and the question must therefore be put, What is it? I think to a very great extent it is owing to the different races that inhabit the North of Ireland ... there is nothing like a Scotchman, there is nothing like an Irishman, there is nothing like an Englishman, but what I think is that there is nothing like a happy combination of all three. It is the combination of these three races which has produced one race in Ulster which has the hopefulness of the Irishman, the sturdy perseverance of the Englishman, tempered by, I think, the somewhat canny qualities of the Scotchman ... we are self-relying, and we feel that if we wish to succeed we ought to do it ourselves ...'

There you go, three-stranded identity again, the triple-blend. The newspapers of the time have long and detailed accounts of the Ulster Reunions. They ran for at least 30 years, maybe longer.

There’s a PhD in this for somebody. Or at the very least a good solid publication.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

"Homely Words and Songs for Working Men and Women" - Rev Charles Marshall (1795–1882)

Marshall was Scottish, but this volume was published in both Edinburgh (by Constable & Co) and Belfast (by Shepherd & Aitchison) in late 1856. It was favourably reviewed in the Presbyterian newspaper The Banner of Ulster, who described the poems and songs as ‘an excellent little series’, with ‘each article preceded by a song chiefly in the Scotch dialect, in which we often meet with verses of which Burns need not have been ashamed’.

He was born in Paisley in 1795 and it is said that Robert Tannahill was a friend of the family’s. In 1856 Marshall was a Free Church of Scotland minister in Dunfermline; in 1853 he had published ‘Lays and Lectures for Scotia’s Daughters of Industry’, some of which also appeared in ‘Homely Words’. He died in 1882 and was buried at Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh.

Some of his poems are available online here in the Modern Scottish Minstrel (1857)

PS - what this also leads to is the need for someone to catalogue all of what might be called ‘Scottish Scots’ language books which were also printed in Belfast and Ulster generally. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

History of Mission Halls throughout Northern Ireland

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