Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ralph Stanley - A Mother's Prayer

Ralph Stanley: A Mother's Prayer Video Preview from Rebel Records on Vimeo.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Queen in Ireland

The Queen has been to (the Republic of) Ireland, to a warm welcome from the people and praise from pundits and politicians. Wind things back to the late 1500s and another Queen Elizabeth was thinking about Ireland too. After the disasters caused by two of her once-favoured aides - the Sir Thomas Smith colony in Co Down from 1572-1575, and the Earl of Essex's campaign in Co Antrim from 1573-1575 - her approach to Ireland changed. She struck this Seal in 1586, the first one to include the harp of Ireland. #alttext#

In Co Down, Queen Elizabeth I (to some degree) made peace with the resident Savages and the Clandeboye O'Neills - in 1587 she formally granted Con O'Neill 'Castlereagh and its appurtenances' and in 1588 she ennobled Patrick Savage as 'Lord Savage of the Little Ards'. And it was all going so well until...

"It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes..."


So said Andrew Jackson. The irony is that today Jackson's portrait is on the $20 bill - yet during his Presidency he abolished the 2nd Central Bank of America and was the last President to pay off the national debt. Just what you'd expect from a man with Ulster-Scots parents, who grew up in an Ulster-Scots emigrant society on the other side of the Atlantic.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I don't get some of the cultural references but I still kinda like this

Loads more here on the Humble Beast Records channel on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

R C Sproul - the Johnny Cash of theologians

I must admit, I thought R C Sproul was dead. He's one of those famous names who knowledgeable people namedrop and quote alongside others who definitely are dead. A bit like Johnny Cash, he just seems to have been around forever and for a while had dropped off my radar. But over the last year or two he's enjoying a resurgence (again like Johnny Cash did) and is writing, blogging and pumping out some great stuff. In his latest book, Unseen Realities; Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons, he revisits some of the territory that CS Lewis explored in The Screwtape Letters. You can get a sample of the book here. His main focus is Ligionier Ministries (superb website here) and with regular audio and video postings here. A biography of Sproul is available here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Settle beds

The settle bed is a piece of furniture you don't see too often these days. I came across one a few months ago but sadly the present owners don't show any signs of wanting to part with it! Its form is simple, essentially a large wooden fireside seat, hinged along the front (floor-level) edge to allow it to open out to become a large box. With an old millet mattress and a pile of blankets this then becomes a fireside bed. Beautiful in their simplicity, and with the shocking price of home heating oil, maybe these should make a comeback. Pics below from various websites.

(ps - if you know of anyone who has plans or working drawings of traditional settle beds please get in touch).




Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Great Speckled Bird

This song was another one of my granda's favourites - he had the original Roy Acuff version on an old 78. If, like me, you've been mystified by the lyrics then you might be interested to listen to Russell Moore's analysis of it over on his podcast series The Cross and the Jukebox - click here.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Onslows poster auction

Onslows bi-annual poster auction is now online for viewing. Not too much Ulster stuff, although this one looks like Waterfoot to me, and lots of WWI posters. Definitely worth a look. Click here to view them all.


Friday, May 06, 2011

A different kind of election

Most of us, if we're honest, tend to respond to style before substance, where tradition and taste become more important than truth. See what you think...

On Voting

Now that the votes have been cast, and before the results start to trickle through, this piece by Mr UlsterScot summarises how many people think and feel.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

RAF Ballyhalbert Christmas Pantomime, 1944

Continuing the wartime theme, here's a not very good digital photo of an old poster I have, which I found in an antique shop years ago. They'd bought the remnants of a defunct printers and this was in one of their old sample books. The books also contained a handful of old tickets and invitations to dinners and dances in the Officer's Mess. Click to enlarge.

"Sit Doon and Drink Tay"

American readers might not know of the recession phenomenon here in the UK, where the old wartime poster "Keep Calm and Carry On" has been revived, and reworked for today's generation. Some of the new versions are great. I found this branded enamel teapot, so decided to make an Ulster-Scots version. If somebody made them, I'd buy one. A few years ago I bought an old enamel plate, drilled a wee hole in the middle, stuck a battery-powered clock mechanism inside it, and added the message "In oor hoose we aye hae time for mair tay" around the edge. Maybe "Dry Up an Quat Gurnin" could have its uses too.
> story of the original poster here
> range of giftware here
> modern and humourous interpretations here

Further suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

St Patrick's Well, Templepatrick, Donaghadee


Found this Victorian map a while ago, drawn at a time when there was still knowledge of the story of St Patrick's arrival at the small townland of Templepatrick just south of Donaghadee, having sailed across the 18 miles of water from Portpatrick in Scotland. You can see 'S. Patrick's Well" marked here. My mother grew up near Millisle (most of her family still live around there) and she told me the story when I was a wee lad. It can also be read in "The Bangor Season" by W.G. Lyttle, a local tourism brochure which was published in 1888, and it's also recorded in the first edition of The Montgomery Manuscripts. Personally, I'm not that bothered about Patrick, the Scottish ministers who came to Ulster in the early 1600s are far more interesting to me (such as Edward Brice, the first Presbyterian minister in Ulster, who arrived here in 1613). But it's a shame that the official "Saint Patrick Trail" leaves out this most historic of sites which has 400 years of documented and oral tradition - whilst many of the sites which are on the trail, whilst interesting in themselves, have little or no connection with Patrick. It's also a shame that Templepatrick - like so many sites of authentic heritage - is today in such poor condition, forgotten and neglected.