Series 13 Programme 6
We start the programme in Donegal at the launch of a new book of poetry by Sarah Leech. Sarah, a weaver, lived about 200 years ago and wrote poems such as ‘The Wish’, read for us by Celine McGlynn, one of the co-editors of the collection entitled “Sarah Leech, the Ulster-Scots Poetess of Raphoe, Donegal”. Celine gives an overview of Sarah’s life and reads “Resignation under Affliction”. Jim Devenney of the East Donegal Ulster-Scots Association, tells Liam that there are three launches taking place this week with an Ulster-Scots feel: a website, www.eastdonegalulsterscots.com; the Sarah Leech event; and a programme of events around tuition. They are also organising a Francis Makemie Summer School and a three-day festival in mid-June as well as a re-enactment of the Battle of Glenmacquin. Back in the Town Hall in Raphoe at the Sarah Leech book launch, there’s music by Stuart Buchanan. Jim Millar, Education and Language Director of the Ulster-Scots Agency tells Liam that the book will be available across the nine counties of Ulster. Jim updates Liam on the educational materials prepared as part of the Stranmillis project: these should be available online soon. Dr Pauline Holland is the other co-editor of the book. Liam asks her about her interest in Sarah Leech and hears about Pauline’s research methods.
Willie Drennan has released a new DVD and we hear a clip of him reciting from James Orr’s poem ‘Ballycarry Fair’. The DVD called ‘Slow Doon alang the Antrim Shore’, is being launched in Carrickfergus Castle and Liam goes along to find out more. Willie describes the DVD as a journey from Carrickfergus along the coast road to Portstewart with music and festivals along the way - all in a 1926 Austin pick-up. Willie tells Liam about forthcoming plans for the Ulster-Scots Folk Orchestra
Liam visits Scotsman, Doug Curran at his home in Sanquhar - where Doug reads ‘The Smiddy at the Whaup’. They discuss the word ‘whaup’ meaning ‘curlew’, and Doug tells Liam about his interest in writing poetry and his Ulster ancestry. Doug used to be a motorbike racer and they chat about the road-races - and the shared interests of Scottish and Ulster folk - before Doug introduces and reads ‘September Afternoon’.
To conclude a year of celebrations marking 400 years since the arrival of Hamilton & Montgomery, BBC Northern Ireland has produced a documentary called “1606: The Dawn of the Ulster-Scots” presented by Flora Montgomery, ancestor of the original settler. We hear an extract from the programme in which Flora retraces their steps….