Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ulster-Scots: A Quiz from Burma

If you'd been stuck on the border between Burma and India in 1944, your thoughts would probably have been of life at home. This was exactly the case for Ulsterman Eric Clark, who during his time in the army in Burma in WW2 wrote three wee volumes called "Ulster Quizbook" - as it says in the foreword they were "begun while convalescing in a hospital tent and completed in a beleagured jungle box on the Assam-Burma border". They occasionally surface in second hand bookshops. Each book had 45 ten question quizzes, so 450 questions in total. Lo and behold in Vol 1, Quiz 5, Question 5 is:

Who are the Ulster Scots?

The answer given at the back is "descendants of Scottish Presbyterians who emigrated to Ulster". A simplistic answer perhaps, but it does show that in the 1940s there was a popular awareness of Ulster Scots identity. The booklets are full of simple history, vocabulary and expressions. They were published by the Galleon Press of Ormiston Drive, Belfast, with the first volume published in December 1944. Clark wrote that Vol II had been completed "on the road to Mandalay" and that Vol III was completed "sailing amid the peace and beauty of our own Strangford Lough - a far cry from the Burma jungle".

Try these -

Vol 1, Quiz 13, Q7: Can you say what a "wheen o herns" is?

Vol 1, Quiz 33, Q2: Whereabouts in Co Down is The Big Stane?

Vol II, Quiz 17, Q5: The Grahams, a Scottish clan, were deported to Ulster and so gave this seaside village its name.

Vol III, Quiz 25, Q5: What other King landed at Carrick as well as King Billy?