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Episode 13

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 18 November 2012

Kist is in Pennsylvania to celebrate the Celtic Classic Festival in Bethlehem. We find out about the Burnside Plantation and Historian Colin Brooks tells us about the ‘real American pioneers’.

  • Series 30 Episode 13

    Liam Logan introduces the first of two special programmes on the Ulster-Scots in Pennsylvania, with Mark Wilson reporting for Kist from the city of Bethlehem, host to the Celtic Classic Festival, celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this year. With over a quarter of a million visitors coming to town for a mix of music, highland games, pipe band competitions, and even a haggis-eating contest, the Celtic Classic reckons it’s America’s biggest such event. Neville Gardner from Lisburn founded the festival in the 1980s to celebrate the cultures of his homeland, and Mark has a yarn with Neville in, of all places, Donegal Square, a store where you can buy a kilt, a packet of digestive biscuits, and a piping CD recorded specially by Robert Watt, and then enjoy a genuine Ulster fry in the tea room.

    Away from the festival, Mark visits Burnside Plantation, where a house built in 1748 by an Irish emigrant reminds him of similar homes from that era, in Ulster and in the south of Scotland. Historian Colin Brooks tells Mark about the early settlers from Ulster whom he calls the ‘real American pioneers,’ laying down foundations for others as they moved west through Pennsylvania.

    Mark hears why Bethlehem’s Moravian legacy has led to it being styled America’s ‘Christmas City’, and Bethlehem piper Scot Walker and his cousin Fraser Sergeant of the Lomond and Clyde Pipe Band tell Mark how pipers from Northern Ireland have made their mark in America.

    Back at the festival’s Highland Field, the haggis is vanishing off the plates, the cabers are being tossed, and soon the Showing of the Tartan Parade is all set to step off down Main Street.

    This programme was produced by Chris Spurr for Blackthorn Productions. If you have any comments, please email the production team at kist@bbc.co.uk or telephone 028 9033 8435.

  • Mark Wilson & Neville Gardner of Lisburn in Neville's store in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

    Mark Wilson & Neville Gardner of Lisburn in Neville's store in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

    For more information about Donegal Square in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - see link at top of page.

  • Moira Shea cuts Mark a slice of her wheaten bread

    Moira Shea cuts Mark a slice of her wheaten bread

  • Mark & Jayne Ann Recker - Director of the Celtic Classic Festival

    Mark & Jayne Ann Recker - Director of the Celtic Classic Festival

    For more information about the Celtic Classic Festival - see link at top of page.

  • Charlene Donchez Mowers with Mark Wilson, in the 1748 house at Burnside Plantation

    Charlene Donchez Mowers with Mark Wilson, in the 1748 house at Burnside Plantation

    Charlene Donchez Mowers, President of Historic Bethlehem with Mark Wilson, in the 1748 house at Burnside Plantation.

    For more information about historic Bethlehem - see link at top of page.

  • The Burnside Plantation house

    The Burnside Plantation house

    For more information about historic Bethlehem - see link at top of page.

  • Historian Colin Brooks and Mark Wilson

    Historian Colin Brooks and Mark Wilson

    For more information about Colin Brooks and the 1718 Migration Project - see link at top of page.

  • Mark Wilson and pipers Fraser Sergeant & Scot Walker

    Mark Wilson and pipers Fraser Sergeant & Scot Walker

  • Mark Wilson, Andrew from Edinburgh - the haggis eating champion, and Fraser Sergeant

    Mark Wilson, Andrew from Edinburgh - the haggis eating champion, and Fraser Sergeant

  • Mark Wilson and Charles 'Chip' Montgomery

    Mark Wilson and Charles 'Chip' Montgomery

  • Freedom High in the parade down Main Street

    Freedom High in the parade down Main Street

    For more information about the Celtic Classic Festival - see link at top of page.

  • Liberty High

    Liberty High

  • Liberty High pipers

    Liberty High pipers

  • Some of the 250,000 crowd at the Celtic Classic Festival, 2012

    Some of the 250,000 crowd at the Celtic Classic Festival, 2012

    For more information about the Celtic Classic Festival - see link at top of page.

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