Tag Archives: Ulster Scots

Fair faa ye

The March 2015 edition of The Ulster Scot [PDF] is now available for downloading from the Ulster Scots Agency website (or wabsteid, as they say in Scots Scots).

I do miss the old days, when the Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland was known in Ulster Scots as the Heid Fector. Parity of esteem for the hamely tongue, that’s what I say.

I think my favourite word is bumfly.



Waterways Ireland’s annual report for 2012 has now been published and is available for download here [PDF].

The English-language version begins on page 77 of 144; the earlier pages are devoted to an Irish-language version, that tongue being widely used in Belfast North.

The Ulster Scots Foreword gets in twice, but Dawn Livingstone is described as Chief Executive and not, alas, as Heid Fector. In a blow for parity of esteem, only the Foreword has been translated into the Hamely Tongue. And we continue to find “Waterways Ireland” translated as “Watterweys Airlann” in WI’s logo but as “Watterwyes Airlan” in the text. No wonder the shinners are running rings around the unionists [although I see that David Cameron intends to fix that].

Now I must read the report to see if I can spot why its publication was so long delayed, but we must welcome the success of the peace process that has reconciled the NI Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure with the roI Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

I suppose there’s be no chance of the 2013 report being published soon …?

A boost for Ulster Scots

I fear that I had not realised that there is a version of Wikipedia in Scots, the language whereof Ulster-Scots is a dialect. Here is its page on whisky, here is the home page and here is the page on Ulster Scots.

Let joy …

… be unconfined: Waterways Ireland’s Annual Report for 2011 has now been released [PDF], just in time for the Christmas market.

Why not slip it into the stocking of your significant other?

And now for the results you’ve been waiting for, the most important information in the annual report.

1. What is John Martin’s job title in Ulster Scots this year?

Alas, the boring Chief Executive has triumphed again: we haven’t even got a Cheif. Bring back the Heid Fector!

2. What is his report called? Foreward bae the Heid Fector, Innin wi tha Heid Fector or (the popular favourite) Twarthy words bae tha heid yin?

Alas again, it’s a boring Foreword by the Chief Executive.

3. What is the Ulster Scots for Waterways Ireland?

This is the only interesting part: it’s still Watterweys Airlann in the logo (presumably it would be too expensive to get that redesigned) but Watterwyes Airlan in the text.

I may find some boring bits elsewhere that I can report on later.



Christmas caption competition

The usual prize of a glass of something or other [and I know the last two prizewinners still have a claim on me] for the best non-libellous caption for this photo, taken today at the launch of WI’s education programme for primary school children. I understand that the materials on WI’s e-learning page are complemented by “an off-line teachers resource pack”, which is what the besuited ones are clutching.

No lifejackets. Photo courtesy of Waterways Ireland, who are not to blame for my decision to use it for a caption competition

Starting at the back, the four chaps are Éanna Rowe, Waterways Ireland’s Marketing Honcho; John Martin, Heid Fector o’ Waterwyes Airlin [as we say in Ulster Scots]*; Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills; Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht but, on the other hand, a strong personal supporter of the Lartigue Monorail, which is a point in his favour.

Update 4 December 2012: the press release is now on the WI site.

* In its 2008 Annual Report, Waterways Ireland was, in Ulster Scots, Watterweys Airlann on the cover but Watterwyes Irelan in the Foreward bae the Cheif [sic] Executive, who signed himself as Chief [sic] Executive. By 2009, though it was still Watterweys Airlann on the cover, it was Waterwyes Airlan in the Foreward bae the Chief [sic] Executive, who signed himself as Heid Fector, a title I rather like. By 2010, though the cover remained unchanged as Watterweys Airlann, the body was Watterwyes Airlan in the Foreward, but the Heid Fector title had been dropped, alas, and John Martin was Chief Executive in two languages.

But 2008 was not the Heid Fector’s first appearance: in 2007 John Martin signed himself thus, though the foreword was called Twarthy words bae tha heid yin and the body was referred to in the text as Wattherweys [sic] Irelan.

Back in 2006, the foreword was Innin wi tha Heid Fector, and the body was Watterweys Airlann, with an accent, which I can’t reproduce, over the first e. That was the same as in 2005; in both years John Martin signed himself as Heid Fector.

I’m not sure whether I prefer Heid Yin or Heid Fector, but either seems better than Chief or Cheif Executive. But the real problem is the difficulty that this inconsistency causes for us eager students of Ulster Scots. I realise that change is inevitable in a thriving, developing language or dialect, but perhaps the cross-border bodies could give a lead in standardising the vocabulary and spelling.

Unionist pressure on Waterways Ireland …

… increased today as leading academic and commentator Professor Billy McWilliams called for an Olympic event to be held at Portglenone. Professor McWilliams, widely regarded as a leadership figure within the Ulster Scots cultural movement, said that the synchronised swimming could be held in the Lower Bann (where navigation is managed by Waterways Ireland, a North-South Body). Professor McWilliams said:

Now it will nat hiv passed yer notice thit the Inglish hiv the Olympics nixt year, fur they hivnae stapped bangin’ oan aboot it in their papers an’ oan the Television. Ah hiv noted thit events an’ the like arenae entirely based in London, wi’ sailin’ at Cows, Fitba in Cardiff an’ Glasgow fur example. Howiver try as Ah might Ah cannae fine a single event in oor ain wee country. Ye wud think that they might at laist hiv threw us the shootin’ at things oor the hittin’ eacho’er, buy it wud appear we dinnae even warrent thon.

He pointed to the excellent facilities available:

An area of the Bann will be roped off for the competition preventing intrusion by anglers and/or perverts. Folk will be able to watch it from the marina, or up on the bridge, or the car park beside the Wild Duck.

There are two changing rooms in the community centre, wan for men and wan for women, and the hall could be turned into a media centre (no wi-fi, but folk could bring their dongle yokes). There is also a small, but clean, kitchen which provides tea making facilities. We have a right mobile phone signal, several well stocked shops and a rake of B&Bs.

Given that WI’s budgetary allocation from the Free State has been cut, and that the ratio between contributions from the two jurisdictions is fixed, the extra cost of staging an Olympic event might cause difficulty for Waterways Ireland. However, Professor McWilliams is known to be a doughty campaigner ….


Equal rights for Ulster Scots

I wrote about the government’s expenditure plans for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht here. At the time, the allocation of current expenditure was not given in detail and I guessed that Waterways Ireland might (subject to the approval of the North-South Ministerial Council) be facing a cut of 5.4% in the 85% of its current budget that comes from the RoI.

A breakdown of the Budget Estimate Allocations for 2012 is now available for download (three .xlsx files). The cut in WI’s current expenditure allocation is about €1.7 million, which is 7% of the figure now given for the 2011 allocation. It is confirmed that the capital allocation is down by 25%, from €6 million to €4.5 million.

The capital allocation to Irish Language Support Schemes stands out: it is being doubled, a rise of 100%, although admittedly from only €100,000 to only €200,000. There is no allocation to Ulster Scots, alas: this absence of parity of esteem may distress Tha Lord Laird o Artigarvan.