Sunday, March 13, 2022

Author May Crommelin of Carrowdore Castle, America and Ulster-Scots

Anyone with a genuine interest in the local heritage of my part of the world will inevitable, naturally, encounter Ulster-Scots. I've mentioned May Crommelin (1848–1930) here before. I picked up a rare original edition of her 1887 novel Dead Men's Dollars last year, a story of a famous Copeland Islands shipwreck and the recovery of its gory booty.

Her recently-reprinted 1880 novel, Orange Lily, is largely autobiographical (online here) with characters who she says 'spoke as broad Scotch as their ancestors did'. This is almost identical to Alice Milligan's 1898 description of Donaghadee, just a few miles up the coast, where the locals spoke 'broadest County Down Scotch'. These two extracts are from an 1893 interview with May Crommelin, in a book entitled Notable Women Authors of the Day –

Below is a circa 1930 photo of my grandfather William Wilson's childhood home at Ballyraer / Ballyrawer (today the Woburn Road), viewed from within the Crommelin's 'plantin'. His brother Henry and sister Rhoda are the weans.