Thursday, January 06, 2022

1908 to 2021

This is a repost having been re-immersing myself in the Ernest Milligan Up Bye Ballads recently, and at the same time noticing the constant 'dialling up' of the rhetoric on this island, with a lot happening politically this year. All the voices I hear (when I occasionally catch the current affairs media) want to win power through an election or referendum – none of them seem want to build a society first.  This is a review from the Dublin newspaper Freeman's Journal and National Press on Burns Day, 25 January 1908, expressing its shock that it transpires there are three traditions in Ireland –

...In these days, when the chief city of Ulster and many towns and country districts all over it are become working centres of the Gaelic revival, a book of verse like this will almost come as a shock to the Irish-Ireland reader. 

He has been busily working for the de-Anglicisation of the Irish nation, looking forward to an era when the West British shoneen will be extinct, end behold here is reminder that there exists within the borders of our island a country population which is not West British nor shoneen, which has not got to be de-Anglicised, for the simple reason that its speech is not English, as we know it, but Lowland Scotch.

The people speaking this tongue are to found mainly Antrim, Co. Down, but also on extensive tracts of land in the North-West, coming right against the Gaelic frontier of Tir-Conal, in the Laggan district, it is called, in Donegal.

But let not the Irish-Irelander brand those survivors of the Ulster Plantation as aliens and foreigners. This Scotch-Irish dialect, so ragged and almost distasteful to our hearing, was the speech of men who stood side by side with the Northern Catholic Gaels on the battlefields Antrim, who camped on the wooded height of Ednavady, and lined the ditch behind “Saintfield Hedge in the County Down.” was the mother tongue James Hope, and the congregations of those United Irish Presbyterian worthies, Porter, and Steele, Dickson, Kelburn, and Warwick..."

Those remarks wouldn't be out of place today. 


MA & PA Walker said...

Thank you for your blog! I came across it this morning when I was searching on Rev Matthew Clark, who “was borne to the grave in compliance with his request, only by those who were survivors of the Londonderry siege.” Rev Clark was mentioned in the “Memories” tab of my 7th great-grandfather’s FamilySearch page, James Nichols (LCJT-2QH). My ancestors are from Northern Ireland. My 6th great-grandfather, Andrew Walker (K63P-JR3) married James Nichols daughter, Jean or Jane (both versions are listed on different documents.) My 5th great-grandfather, James Walker (L7Y2-9LH) lived for a while, along with his older brother Robert, with his mother’s sister Eleanor and her husband Archibald Stark in Londonderry, New Hampshire, prior to moving across the river and founding the settlement of present-day Bedford, New Hampshire.
Many sources state that Andrew, Robert, and James are descendants of Reverend George Walker, the defender of Londonderry. Some sources state that two of Georges sons were present during the siege. I cannot find any documentation of Walker, Nichols, or Stark births, marriages, or emigration from Northern Ireland. My wife and I are anticipating a visit to Northern Ireland on June 1st this year. We look forward to seeing where my ancestors are from. I spent 3 hours reading through your blogs this morning. Thank you for blogging! --John Walker