Thursday, December 24, 2009

80,000 small Scotch adventurers

As we head towards 2010, the 400th anniversary of the Plantation of Ulster (to be specific, just the six western counties - because Antrim, Down and Monaghan weren't included), the anniversary presents an opportunity to either educate or entrench. I hope education wins. One of the important messages of the Plantation is of the relatively small numbers of people involved - in fact the post-1690 migration from Scotland to Ulster was far, far bigger. Here's something I read today:

"...Ulster continued to be the dangerous part of Ireland till after the war of the Revolution, when it was nearly colonized anew by the Scotch settlers and camp followers of King William's foreign forces. Eighty thousand small Scotch adventurers came in between 1690 and 1698 into different parts of Ireland, but chiefly into Ulster..."

from Prendergast's Ireland from the Restoration to the Revolution, 1660 to 1690, p 98 (published 1887)

I expect "small" doesn't refer to a race of pygmies, but 80,000 ordinary people with little or no money, who arrived here as refugees from famine in Scotland - the complete opposite of the 110 Plantation landlords who arrived here in 1610.