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Not just the whiskey...
Michael Hall. Island Publications, 132 Serpentine Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim. ISBN 0951419447.£1.50.
In the introduction to this booklet Michael Hall explains how he takes parties of young people of both Protestant and Catholic background to the summit of the Cave Hill. The view from Cave Hill, which overlooks Belfast can put a new perspective on the tragic events in Ulster. From the hill one can see the coast of Scotland. Hall explains the importance of this thus: "I feel that by seeing for themselves that Ireland and Scotland are, quite literally, only a short boat journey apart it must become more difficult to adhere to the widespread belief (held by members of both communities) that the Scottish Presbyterians who arrived in Ulster for the 17th Century Plantation were an almost alien race whose ancestors had no contact with Ireland prior to that."
Ulster's Scottish Connection shows some of the links between Ireland (and in particular Ulster) and Scotland and the shared heritage that exists. The message is a positive one with many implications, for if the people of the Island become aware of this shared heritage perhaps, as the author hopes, "that knowledge night assist them to sit down together and find less painful ways of resolving their real and imagined divisions, rather than the present unnecessary violence, with all its tragic individual and communal consequences."
Hall begins by looking at archaeological finds which suggest links between the peoples of Ulster and Scotland: the court cairns and distribution of beaker pots amongst others. Next the author considers the writings of early geographers and historians. The pamphlet traces the pattern of connections between Scotland and Ireland through the settlement of Argyll and the Islands along the Northern coast of Scotland and establishment of Dalriada to the later migration to Galloway and the Plantation of the 17th century.
The pamphlet also contains a section on the influence of Ulsterfolk on the development of America which would be of interest to our US readers in particular. This fascinating section also touches on the Ulster origins of American Country and Western music. The pamphlet contains details of sources of information for those who wish to read further on any topics of particular interest.
A THIRD WAY FOR ULSTER
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