Ulster-Scots Update

The latest edition of “The Ulster-Scot” is out – so I thought I would bring a small update to Slugger. The Ulster-Scots Agency is now funding organisations in 10 counties (Northern Ireland plus Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal and Leitrim ).

Some interesting tid-bits:

The inaugral meeting of the first all-party Ulster-Scots parliamentary group at Westminster will take place on Jan 16th.

John Anderson`s stage show “On Eagle`s Wing” will be broadcast by BBC Northern Ireland in January and in the States in August by PBS. there should also be a DVD realease in the spring.

Also of note is the increasing strength of the linguistic aspects of the Agency. The on-going work of the Ulster-Scots Language Society and the Ulster-Scots Academy (Ullans Academie) in developing an electronic Text Base of past writings and literature in Ulster-Scots are highlighted in this issue.

For instance the issue carries a 1820`s poem entitled “Address To Bachelors” by Sarah Leech, the “Bard of Lettergull”, from County Donegal, one of the few female Rhyming Weavers era poets.

Address To Bachelors (shortened version)

Ye Bachelors baith ane and a`,
Oppressed wi` grief on you I ca`,
While down my cheeks the tear-drops fa`,
Thro` pure compassion,
To see ilk flirt and country daw,
Ape at fashion.

Ilk lass maun ha`e a snaw-white gown,
Wi` span-lang flounces waving roun`,
Some weel-plait straw upon her crown,
And ribbons gay,
While hose weel starched, and right-left shoon
Her feet display.

Next she maun ha`e a yard o` veiling,
Affected modesty concealing,
Tho` want o` this is a` the failing,
Laid to the lassie –
How can I help at times bewailing,
Poor fools sae saucy.

How to her mither Kate will bawl,
To purchase her a scarlet shawl,
In hopes she may some gull enthral,
Who gapes for riches,
But six months wed, she proves a brawl,
And wears the breeches.

Her tongue at rest can never be,
And when she pries the barley bree,
Wi` nibours she will disagree,
But in the end,
Poor Willie gets a blackened e`e,
You may depend.

I therefore a` young fellows caution
To guard against sic dames o` fashion,
Or you may aiblins get a thrashin`
Frae tongue as glib,
When wed, you rouse the angry passion
Of captious rib.

And this by Samuel Thompson, the “Bard of Carngranny”, Templepatrick.

The Hawk and Weazle

To town ae morn, as Lizie hie`d
To sell pickle yarn,
A wanton Whiteret she espy`d,
A sportin at a cairn.
Alang the heath beskirted green,
It play`d wi` monie a wheel:
She stood and dighted baith her een,
An` thought it was the Diel
She saw at freaks!

But soon her doubts were a` dismis`t
A gled cam whist`ling by,
And seiz`d the weazle:- ere it wist,
`Twas halfway at the sky,
But soon the goss grew feeble like,
And syne began to fa`
Till down he daded on a dyke,
His thrapple ate in twa;
Let him snuff that.

The weazle aff in triumph walks,
An` left the bloodless glutton,
A warning sad to future hawks
That grien for weazle`s mutton
So reprobates, that spitefu` cross,
Decree their nibour`s ruin,
Are often forc`d, like foolish goss,
To drink o` their ain brewing`
Wha says its wrang.


aiblins = perhaps
awn = the beard of corn
biel = a shelter
blethers = nonsense
bree = liquor , drink
carlin = witch
cantrips = incantations
chiel = person
clash = gossiping
clink = tp rhyme
clootie = the devil
darklins = in the dark
daw = slut
dowie = worn out, fatigued
flyte = to scold
gowk = a foolish person
Ilk, Ilka = each
ken = to know
knowe = a little eminence
linn = a waterfall
lowe = a blaze
prie = to taste
rackle = scolding, abusive
sic = such
snell = keen, piercing
sweer = reluctant
thrawart = sulky, mullish
unco = strange

  • maca

    I was checking the November edition which is online. Can anyone answer me, is the newsletter available also in U-Scots or just in English? If not then why not?

  • unionist_observer

    Are bits of it not in Ulster-Scots?

    I remember from the last edition I flicked through, there are pages in Ulster Scots and pages in English.

  • unionist_observer

    by the way maca, you can pick up a hard copy of it at any UUP advice centre.

  • Davros

    They send it to me free and gratis u_o. The Henry Cooke article rather glosses over his life.

  • maca

    “Are bits of it not in Ulster-Scots?”

    I didn’t notice any U-S. I’m just checked it online…

    “you can pick up a hard copy of it at any UUP advice centre.”

    It’s unlikely i’ll ever be in a UUP advice centre 😉

  • maca

    I’m just checking it online…

  • Alan2

    The December edition will probably be online on Monday but they never put the whole edition up, only four or five articles. You are far better either buying the Newsletter (always included with a Saturday edition) or giving your name and address to the Ulster-Scots Agency and they will post you out a copy to anywhere in the world.

    The Newsletter also has a regular Ulster-Scots column called The Crack which is available from the Ulster-Scots Agency website.

    There is a regular column / translation of The Pilgrim Way in Ulster-Scots and usually a couple of other articles written in Ulster-Scots…the rest is usually in English and is either news about events or reviews / articles on things pertaining to Ulster-Scots language, culture and heritage.

  • maca

    Thanks for the info Alan!

  • Davros

    And to be fair to them, they only send out The Ulster-Scot, they don’t send spam or promo material.

  • maca

    What’s the newsletter like Davros?

  • Alan2

    Sorry should have made that clear – The Ulster-Scot is issued free with certain Saturday editions of the News Letter newspaper.

  • Davros

    I enjoy looking at it, but there’s a connection to my studies. There’s some interesting history and poetry and they have obviously been at pains to avoid having anything that would offend – to the point where they could be accused of being too bland.

  • maca

    Just realised what i asked, when I said “newsletter” I meant the Ulster Scot newsletter, not The Newsletter paper.

  • CavanMan

    The Ulster-scots agency have shown a bit of class by funding organisations in the brilliant county of Cavan. 🙂 .They are however not a very visible organisation,perhaps if they made their newspaper more available in Newsagents etc,their success would rise in the border counties.

  • maca

    Good point CavanMan. The same problem exists with Lá, just getting your hands on it is a problem. If such papers were widely available more people might decide to pick up a copy out of curiousity and maybe develop an interest…

  • Belfast Gonzo


    I look forward to the day where I can walk into a UUP office and pick up an Irish language newspaper… or into an SDLP or SF office and pick up an Ulster Scots paper!


    Almost finished the second of the two Bill Duncan books you recommended recently (isn’t Amazon great?) and enjoyed them both very much.

  • Davros

    Which two Gonzo/Aughavey ?

    Amazon isn’t bad, but it’s always worth checking
    at Fetchbooks. I got my Ferriter for £16-00.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The Smiling School for Calvinists and The Wee Book of Calvin: Air-Kissing in the North-East.

    Most enjoyable. I was going to say Irvine Welsh-lite, but that’s not really fair.

  • Davros

    Cheers gonzo- I know that a friend who lives in Dundee has got me the Wee Book. Looking forward to reading it!

  • Mike

    Anyone know the Ulster Scots for ‘Merry Christmas’? Just in case I want to send multi-lingual festive greetings…

  • fair_deal


    Biddin ye a blythe yuletide an a guid new yeir