Sunday, 16 December 2007


On Saturday 1st December, fUSe FM began a two-week broadcast in Ballymoney, operating from the Orange Hall in High Street. The Ulster Scots Agency sponsored radio station proved to be a massive hit in the Toon with a record response from listeners. Although the temporary station did not have a telephone facility, listeners were able to text the presenters and by the end of the 14 day period, the total number of texts recieved amounted to just less than 3000! Although the organisers were hopeful that the station would be a success, no one could have predicted the resounding success it became.

The shows ran daily from 8:ooam until past midnight and each show was staffed by local volunteers from the Ulster Scots community. Pre recorded interviews featuring Ulster Scots speaker Marbeth Templeton and the pupils of Armoy and Ballymoney Model primary schools were aired as well as an interview with local author and historian, Robert Thompson. Live interviews of local bands and band members were also aired and special guests included Charlie Reynolds, Charlie Gillen, Darwin Templeton (News Letter editor), Dr Ian Adamson (former Lord Mayor of Belfast, author and historian), Wilson Burgess (poet & author), George Patton and Michael McCullough (Ulster Scots Agency) and Mark Thompson (Chairman of Boord o tha Ulster Scotch).

As well as conventional music, listeners were treated to Scots and traditional music with a Country Show hosted by Jim Doherty. Prior to the commencement of the fortnight's airtime, presenter Anne Smyth said we would be unearthing and promoting local talent in an interview with Kist o Wurds and this was realised both in the promotion of local singer Alistair Coyles and during the country show.

A huge thanks must go to Anne, Noel Anderson, Louise Watson, Peter Baird, Jimmy The Beard Henry and Adam Stubbles Mark for the deication they gave to bringing such enjoyment to the folk o the Toon. We are also very very grateful to Andy Mattison for his exceptional zeal in travelling from his Co Down home daily to take part in the project.

Businesses played the station in shops, bars, the local hotel and throughout the town and hinterland. A charity drive launched by the fUSe team realised a total of £1100 in only ten days. This sum was divided equally between Click Sargant and the NI Children's Hospice at a cheque presentation on the last day of broadcasting.

Secretary of the local Kingdom of Dalriada Ulster Scots Society, Gary Blair, said: "The response to the project has taken us all by surprise. During the last week a huge number of texts were seeking us to bring a full time Ulster Scots radio station to the Toon and the greater North Antrim area. Although this seems like an uphill struggle, we believe the demand is there and, to avoid discriminating against the Ulster Scots community, I think such a licence should be granted as soon as possible. The momentum is there, the will is there and the support base is there. I hope those in a position to grant a licence will do so. Ballymoney has largely been neglected by big name stores and has been squeezed between Ballymena and Coleraine but something like this could benefit local trade, tourism and, above all, give hope to the local community who have been the salt of the earth in terms of supporting the project. We intend to return that support by doing everything we can to bring a cultural station to the Toon and north Antrim".

The good people of Ballymoney did us all proud and the presenters named above did the Toon proud. On behalf of the Ulster Scots community, we thank you all.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Hear the Wizard!

One man who knows his Ulster Scotch is North Antrim's own Charlie "The Wizard" Gillen from Dervock. If you missed him having a chat on Radio Ulster's Kist O Wurds show, why not go on Radio Ulster online and click on the Kist O Wurds to hear him talking to Will McAvoy from Co Down. The yarn is not only highly entertaining but also raises some very important points about the Ullans leid and the issue of regional variations. Tune in!

Friday, 19 October 2007

Plantation? Whit Plantin R Ye Oan Aboot?

A'm sure A'm no tha only yin amang iz that heared certain revisionists, political mooths an tha lake puttin it ower that iz Ulster Scotch landed here in a boat an tuk ower lan, hooses an aa. Aye deed, we hae bin writ aff as invaders an aa soarts. The Toon Rhymer begs tae differ a bit frae that wye o thinkin.

It's Wur Hame An Aye Wus
They keep taakin aboot a plantation.
They say wae invaded this lan.
They think we're misguided Irishmen!
Wie a fool loyalty tae an oul Rid Haun.
Revisionists, historians an ither yins
Wud mak iz feel that wae dinnae belang
But gie mae a minute tae A show ye
That they cudnae bae oany mair wrang.
Wur Dalriada forefaithers leeved here
As they had done fer hunners o years
They wur persecuted but kept oan gan
Tho it cost them aa sufferin an tears.
Eventually they set sail ower tha water
(They wur caa'd Scots in thar new plaice)
Tha wye they wur forced oot o Ulster
Wus naethin shoart o a disgrace!
They settled in the Lallans,
An wrocht hard in thur new domain
Aaways hopin, prayin an thinkin
That they micht see oul Ulster again.
Centuries later King James tuk a notion
O settin Ulster bak oan hur feet
An sae he sent the Lallan fowk hame again
Determined this time they'd niver bae beat.
Sae its no a 'plantation', it's a hamecomin
Bak tae tha plaice whur we leeved afore
An this time we're no gan tae lee it
As they did in bygone days o yore.
Here's a toast tae the Ulster Scotch!
A'm gye proud tae bae here the day
Fer whither the rest lake it ir lump it,
It's in Ulster that we're gan tae stay!!


The acclaimed FUSE FM radio station will be coming to Ballymoney in the first two weeks of December! For the first time ever, Ballymoney will have it's very own cultural radio station based in the town. The hosts will be the Kingdom of Dalriada & Stranocum Ulster Scots groups and it is hoped that local musical and literary talents will be broadcast to the people of the Borough through this important medium.

Details of the programme will be posted on the blog nearer the time so keep an eye out for titles featuring FUSE FM.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Dunaghy Flute Band Centenary

1907 CENTENARY 2007
On Friday 2nd November 2007, Dunaghy Flute Band will present an Evening of Ulster Scots Music & Entertainment in Ballymoney Town Hall.
Attending will be two of Northern Ireland's top flute bands in the form of Mourne Young Defenders from Kilkeel and Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster from Ballymena. Both bands are renowned for their musical ability. Also in attendance will be another of Northern Ireland's finest ensembles, Dunloy Accordian Orchestra. Finally, storyteller and rhymer Charlie Gillen and musician Elaine Allen will provide a more traditional Ulster Scots feel to the evening. Compering the event will be Coleraine comedian and actor, Robert Ramsey.
A spokesman for the band said he was looking forward to the evening and felt that there was an excellent variety of acts. He said: "It would be hard for us to better the performers who will be attending the Town Hall on the 2nd. Bands like the Mourne, Ballykeel and Dunloy are at the top of their categories whilst Charlie Gillen, Elaine Allen and Robert Ramsey are proven entertainers in their own right".
Doors open at 7pm with a start time of 8pm on the night and the band spokeperson explained that tickets are on sale. "While people can simply come along on the night, we are encouraging everyone to purchase a ticket beforehand from either a band member or by contacting the following mobile numbers: 07730609282 or 07852162816".

Get Writing!

The Ulster Scots language has survived down through the centuries as a largely oral tradition. The Ulster Scots speaking communities preserved the language by speaking it on a daily basis, telling stories and through the medium of poetry. Indeed, we are more than fortunate to have Charlie Gillen and Charlie Reynolds amongst us. They have been engaged in preserving and promoting the Ullans language long before it secured legal status as a language.

Perhaps you would like to be amongst the growing numbers of Ulster Scots writers who are committing poetry and stories to print? You may be apprehensive about doing so because you would not feel confident about writing in Ulster Scots. If so, stop right there!

We would love to have you join us as a writer and we would love to read your work. No one will be judged by us and no one will be made to feel patronised. If you need a wee jag of confidence, look out a copy of the Hamely Tongue by James Fenton and take your text from it. Let NOTHING put you off from writing in Ulster Scots. So, if you do commit to paper, send it to my email address and everyone who does will be guaranteed a reply devoid of judgement.

So get writing!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Attention Ulster Scots!

The University of Ulster Institution of Ulster Scots Studies will be holding a six week course based at Northern Regional College (Ballymoney Tech) beginning on Monday 22nd October 2007. The classes will run from 7:00 - 9:oopm and everyone is welcome to attend.

The programme, supported by the Ulster Scots Agency, will run as follows:

Week 1
Ulster and Scotland from earliest times to 1700

Week 2
Ulster and Scotland 1700-2000

Week 3
The Language and Literature of the Ulster Scots

Week 4
The Language and Literature of the Ulster Scots

Week 5
The Music and Song of the Ulster Scots

Week 6
The Legacy of the Ulster Scots

This is a golden opportunity for us, the people from Dalriada, to learn more about our rich history and culture. For too long our presence, language and contribution to society in general has been ignored or suppressed. The Ulster Scots Journal & News would encourage EVERYONE to attend the series of classes, not just to learn, but also to contribute to the talks and debates that will flow from the structured series in the programme above. Having spoken to writer, lecturer and consultant, Alister McReynolds, I can confirm that attendees may enrol on the first night though to be sure of a place, contact Sharon Adams, The Continuing Professional Development Unit on 028 9036 6680 or email the Unit at where you will find assistance and advice. The course will cost £30:00 or £15:00 for the entire six week course. As we would say up here in Dalriada, Whur else wud ye get it; sure it's naethin but a fiver a nicht!