Did you know?

Some facts about Ulster-Scots history & culture:

  • Paschel Grousset, the French traveller and former Communard, writing in the 1880s, thought ‘Ulster is a neighbour to Scotland and belongs to the same geological, ethnological, commercial and religious system’.

  • David Manson was an Ulsterman who started the first playschool in Belfast in 1751.

  • The English historian G. M. Trevelyan (1876-1962) described the interaction between Ulster and Scotland as ‘a constant factor’ in history.

  • On 26 May 1315 Edward Bruce, brother of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, arrived at Larne, County Antrim, with a view to making himself King of Ireland. Edward Bruce was eventually defeated and killed at the Battle of Faughart on 14 October 1318.

  • In 1606 Sir Hugh Montgomery, Laird of Braidstane in Ayrshire, and Sir James Hamilton, an adventurer and a don at Trinity College, Dublin, settled North Down and the Ards with Lowland Scots in an unofficial plantation (the Montgomery and Hamilton settlement) which predated the Plantation of Ulster.

  • The official Plantation of Ulster was facilitated by the departure of Hugh O’Neill and Hugh O’Donnell, the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell respectively, who sailed from Lough Swilly for the Continent on 3 or 4 September 1607.

  • The Plantation of Ulster represented a remarkable U-turn in policy for the Government in London. Normally policy had been directed at trying (in vain) to keep the Scots out of Ulster rather than encouraging them to settle in Ulster.

  • After the execution of King Charles I in January 1649, the Presbytery of Belfast published a document condemning the King’s ‘murder’ and other actions of the English Parliament and declaring their support for the Solemn League and Covenant drawn up by their Scottish co-religionists. On behalf of the English Parliament John Milton, the Latin Secretary of the Commonwealth, responded by vigorously denouncing the ‘blockish presbyters of Clandeboye’ for their pains and dismissing Belfast as ‘a barbarous nook’ and a place ‘whose obscurity till now never came to our hearing’.

  • Lowlands Scots speech was introduced to Ulster around 1600, at a time when, according to Dr Caroline Macafee, editor of A Concise Ulster Dictionary (Oxford, 1996) it displayed ‘the greatest differences from English’.

  • Francis Hutcheson was a philosopher born in Saintfield, County Down, and is usually described as ‘the Father of the Scottish Enlightenment’. His political thought was very influential in the American colonies and also helped shape the thinking of the United Irishmen in their constitutional phase in the early 1790s. He was one of the first authors to challenge the legitimacy of slavery.