Medieval Scots in Ulster: The stories of the Bruce invasion and the MacDonnell settlement

Although many people think that the Scots story in Ulster begins with the 17th century Plantation, medieval history tells us differently.


This talk examines the story of the Bruce family connection with Antrim and Ulster, culminating in the 1315 invasion by Edward Bruce on the Antrim coast. But the Bruces also appear to have set out to cultivate a pan-Celtic alliance against England, which included contact with Irish chieftains.


The talk also looks at Bisset and MacDonnell connections on the same coastline and the impact and legacy that both these settlements had on the social and political landscape.

The Steel Bonnets: the story of Scots Borderers and Ulster

The Borders were a unique region of the British Isles, the frontier between England and Scotland and the first point of contact when invasion came on either side of the Tweed.


This was a land which had its own laws and systems of government yet was governed by the King or Queen. Whenever James VI of Scotland became James I of England, things changed. There was a clampdown on the Borders, and the infamous Riding Clans came under pressure.


The Grahams, Armstrongs, Kerrs and others made a new life for themselves in a new frontier, the Borderlands of the new Ulster Plantation in the 17th century. Explore the story of the Border Reivers and the impact and legacy which they had in this enthralling talk fromfrom a speaker of Border Scot extraction.

The Plantation of Ulster: Exploring 17th century settlement

Irish history would be forever altered by the settlement of British families in the 17th century.


What prompted the Plantation of Ulster and where did the settlers come from? How did the landscape alter with the arrival of these people?


This talk sets the Plantation in context and examines whether or not the Plantation was a success and also examines some of the perceptions of the event; the O’Neills, for example, received land grants under the terms of the Plantation settlement, while the idea that British Protestant settlement would lead to a uniform province was mistaken as the English and Scottish settlements were significantly different.

The Killing Times: the Scots Covenanters and 17th century Ulster

The story of the Scots Covenants was once widely known in the Ulster Scots community, but is now largely forgotten. However the Covenanter period was a stirring one in Scottish history and many Covenanters, under pressure from the ecclesiastical authorities, fled across the channel to Ulster.


The Covenanters resisted the church authorities of the day and refused to worship in the established churches, being opposed to the reforms being promoted to make the Church of Scotland closer to the Church of England. They raised armies, their most famous regiment being the Cameronians.


One of the most famous poems about the period in Ulster is ‘The Ballad of Willie Gilliland’ by the antiquarian and folk poet Sir Samuel Ferguson, which tells the story of a Covenanter hiding out in Glenwherry, County Antrim. The talk looks at the story of the Covenanters and how significant they were in the context of Ulster history, political thought and religious outlook.

An Introduction to Ulster Scots

What is Ulster Scots? Is it just something made up in the 1980s? Has it got historical validity?


This talk looks at the origins and history of Ulster Scots in spoken and written form as well as the unique history and culture of Ulster Scots.


The speaker is someone who has been involved in Ulster Scots history and activity for over 30 years and brings a wealth of knowledge to the subject. Learn what linguistic influences are responsible for the Ulster-Scots language, common words which you are very likely to know even if you did not think of them as Ulster-Scots and some more unusual words which have survived.

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