Friday, 30 January 2009

The Tamin' o' the (Pygmy) Shrew.

Tim Tim MacPat Coogan has, in his comments oer the heid o' Bit Fower, raised the ugly specter o' the pygmy shrew. Dispite bein the size o' a matchboax, this wee baste is probably the maist controversil in oor histry. Tim Tim claims thit the fak thit the Irish Pygmy Shrew has the same DNA as themuns frae Andorra mains thit the wee bastes mustae got here direk by boat frae the Iberian Peninsula, thus cuttin' oot the Ulster Scot. Ah promised him a response frae Wullie McIlveen, an ah got oan til him directly. Wullie wasnae tae plaised at bein' raised fur wurk oan a Friday night, he was oot wi Peter an' Iris at a fun' raiser fur Ballymena's Gay Pride march, but he put his team o' Palaeoarchaeologenetistits at the Auld Larnin' dept tae wurk.

Willie's team, drunk as they micht hiv bin oan a Friday, made the fallyin' points.

Yin: It isnae a native spice, an' thus cud hiv arrived here by tradin' boats lang after the yinst folk goat here.

Twa: The logic o' the arguement is that the wee shrews hopped ontil a boat frae Spain, an naebody saw them. Oor team point oot that it wid be wile hard fur a bear tae dae likewise. The big bastes mustae walked here.

Thrie: It's a fairly crap baste compared til wulfs an' bears (guid Ulster Scots - see Bit Thrie). If ye hiv tae base an entire genaeological theory fur the Irish oan yin baste, yiv picked tha wrang puck.

Fower: A pregnant shrew micht hiv fawlen ontae an Albatross that later landed here. Then fell aff.

Five: Andorra an' Ireland? Mountinous land locked country an' an island? Guid oan ye shrew if ye managed tae catch the ferry.

In summary oor team reckon that ye need tae drap the Iberian Peninsula an' start thinkin' oan the Ards.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Bit Fower - The Yinst Folk.

Fair fa' ye til the latest instawlment o' 1690. Afore we git ontae the histry ma' thankins agin til awl wha voted in the last pole. Ironikly efter ma rant aboot non-participatin', the votin' system came doon roond oor ears last Thursday hence. Ah had tae reset it, so it's runnin late an' will go ontil tamarra. As we write; votin' hais shat up by an astonishin' five, but it's still a tite fite, so git in noo an' choose yer favourite march.

Fur this week's pole we continue oor theme o' demacracy. Ulster-Scots hiv threw up a fair few political hevywaits oer the years - Ian Paisley, Ian Paisley Jr, Francois Mitterand, tae name but thrie. That got me thinkin' as tae which o' oor present day hevywaits yid want beside ye oan a rough night in Markethill? Yer vote wud go sum way intae solvin' that conundrum.

Howiver - laivin' that aside - at lang last we can put an end 'til the carpin' aboot the lack o' folk in the Histry blog fur naw they appear in..................

Bit Fower - The Yinst Folk

The origins o' the yinst folk is a matter o' sum debate in certain circles. A racent dockumentary on the RTE proposed that the folk o' Ireland are descendeded frae yins frae Spain. Accordin' tae this show, tests hiv shewed that folk here share their DNA wi' the Spanish, an' they surmised that 10,000 years hence oor ancestors, the Celts, hopped ontae boats an' sailed direct til Cork, from thence makin' thair way til Ulster.

Normally at this time ah'd luk fur the thoughts o' Wullie McIveen, o' the Dept o' Auld Larnin' at the University o' Mid-Antrim, but he explained that as Professor of Wile Auld Things he wudn't want til spekulate on stuff beyon' his spere o' knowledge. He put me ontil his son, Wullie John McIlveen, Senior Lekturer in Very, but not Wile, Auld things at King's College, Ballylumford. W.J. highlighted a few problems in the RTE theory.


Wullie has come tae the conklusion that the RTE's programme had failed tae acknowledge the work o' Dr Stephen Oppenheimer at Oxford University, near England. In his seminal work, "The Origins of the British", Dr Oppenheimer revealed that maist folk in the British Isles share the same DNA, an' that thus the folk o' the Free State arnae anymair Celt than folk in Kent.* Ah hiv tae agree wi' Wullie on this Spanish DNA theory, fur the weemen roun' these parts arnae so much sexy senioritas as sixty Senior Service.

Wullie says it is mair likely that the yinst folk til git til Ulster arrived durin' the Mesolithic Period, sometime between 7050 and 7049 BC, makin' thair way over frae Scotland in wee boats an' lanin' along the Nairth Coast. He goes oan til point oot that the fact that the auldest hoose in Ireland was foun' at Mountsannel in Caulraine further dents the RTE theory. That wid be a wile odd place fur til bild a hoose if yid just landed aff a boat in Cork. Furthermair Wullie has DNA tested the folk o' Bushmills an' foun that they are mair closely related til stain age folk, an each other, than anyyin else in Ireland.
There ye haiv it, wi'v put til bed the RTE prapaganda and provided fairther proof o' oor Ulster Scots Heritage. Nixt time wi'll hiv a wee luk at life fur the Ulster Scot in the Stain Age.

*Pauline Clarkson, Bass Drum Spare Skin Bearer o' Carrickfergus True Blues, has accused this blog o' a lack o' research. Ah hope this puts her rite.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Demos Kratia

Ah was intendin' this week til deal wi' Bit Fower - the Yinst Folk, but events in the wurld at large hiv overtakin' me. So instied wur goantae hiv a wee luk at the wurld o' democracy.

The quiz last week asked yis 'til decide which yin o' a few folk didnae hiv a Scots name. It wus, af coorse anuther wee trick, fur they awl dae. It was a cunning ploy designed til emphasise the crucial part played by the Scot in whit is (very) loosely termed the Norn Iron Piece Process. If it was wasnae fur Tony Blair an' his han' o' histry where wud we be noo? Howiver I hiv til han the hole thing til Danny Morrison. Efter awl, it wis he who invented the ploy o' havin' the armalite in yin han' an' the ballit boax in the oer. Prior to his intervention folk cudnae vote fur they were laden doon wi' armalites an' cudnae haul a pen. That said, ah shud point oot 'til Danny that, strictly spakin under electrol law, he hasnae any busness havin any han' oan a ballit boax. The responsiblility fur thar care is in the hans o' the presidin' officer o' the polin' station, an' he'd be better aff leavin well alain.

Lack o' Votin'

Naw ah hiv til ask yis, whit was the point o' Danny larnin' us that ye could leave yin armalite behine, if ye dinnae buther til vote in oor pole at awl. He didnae chuck boys oot the windae fur nathin!* A wheen o' weeks ago, we had 30 votes o'er the hied o' the praper wurd fur turkey, bit noo its declined til oany ten. At the time the Big Sums Dept here at 1690 wurked oot that at thy'on rate o' growth we'd fairly soon hit 17 million. Thiv noo taul me that if this rate o' decline continues, an' folk don't vote soon, ah'll be owin' the interweb votes. Whar wud we be then? Howiver ah confess that last weeks quiz was a wee bit hard, so ah've givin yis an easy yin this time roond.

Presidential Indoctrination.

Yis micht hiv missed it in the papers, fur it wasnae very well reported, but America has itself a new leader. As maist o' yis will knaw, upwards of 73 Presidents o' the US come frae Ulster Scots stock an' a cupple o' yis hiv esked me til research the new Commaner in Cheef, tae see if he can join that pantheon. Ah put ma best men, an hens, oan the job, an' ye won't be dissapointed.

Ma first port o' call fur this query was Billy McQuillan (o' the South-Aist Ards Bible an' Caterin' College). He has foun' oot that President Obama's ancestors include a family by the name o' Kearney. Billy has luked intae it and foun' that thesuns landed in Ulster frae Scotland at a place on the Ards Peninsula noo called Kearney Point.

At this point Billie-May Carson o' the Non-Subscribin' Scots Irish Academy o' South Virginia takes up the story. She tells us that the Kearneys let themselves doon by leavin' the Presbyterian fold an' signin' up fur the established church, uppin' sticks an' shiftin ' doon tae King's County. She goes ontae say thit luckily fur President Obama, his family sooned realised that they were livin' in the Free State, an' hopped oan the first boat they cud fine til America.

Interestinly, Obama's "Irish" roots were widely reported in the Free State press 'til they foun' oot his folk played doon the richt wing. Then the story dropped; they'll hiv tae make dae wi' JFK fur the time bein'.

Burn's Nicht.

Ah cannae let this week pass wi'oot a mention fur the wurlds gratest livin' poet, Rabbie Burns. This Sunday it is 250 years til the day that the grate man was born. As we awl knaw, he was nae stranger til Ulster's fair shores, fur he cud see them frae Ayrshire, an' there can be nae doot that he'd be the first mawn til support the hamely tongue. So this Sunday raise yer glass to "the wee sleekit, cowrin', tim'rous bastie", or if ye dinnae want tae toast Sammy Wilson, have a drink oan Rabbie Burns, inventor o' the bonefire.

Nixt week, Folk


Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Bit Thrie - Furry bastes hit the Scene

A braw new year 'til yis awl, an bit a wee apologie 'til yis fur ma slawness in pumpin' oot the latest instawlment in the story o' the Hamely Fowk. Ah got a wee gunk frae oor funders* the oo'er day an' ah wasnae in the mood fur writin'. Howiver it turns oot that the Free State has money fur Ulster Scots tae, so ah went 'til them an' tha threw me a few o' thy'on Euros. Turns oot there wurth mair than a poon' so wair back on an even keel. As well as gettin' back til oor roots wi' the history, ah've stuck a wee politics quiz up fur yis awl.

Befair we get on, ah'll hiv nain o' yer rhetorical questions aboot wair the folk are oor the like. There isnae any folk, but awl will become clear........

Bit Thrie... Furry Bastes..

Thems o' yis wha' were ersed til' read bits yin an' twa will knaw that Ulster was a very differn' place 15000 years hence. The DINOSAURS!!!!! had bin and gawn an' wur fallyed by the Big Caul Snap. Nae bastes were knackin' aboot oor fair shores. That awl changed when the Caul Snap meleted away - lo an behaul Ulster was jointed clean ontil Scotland. The land had ris up between them and anyyin could walk frae Larne 'til Stranraer wi'oot a P&O ferry 'til rip them aff.

This heralded the arrival o' the yinst plants, burds an bastes.


The yinst plants til git here must a' bin fair movers fur they got here befair the bastes. Accordin' til (oor friend) Professor Wullie McIlveen (o' the Dept o' Auld Larnin' etc), Ulster wud hiv bin cuvered in plants - trees, flewrs, shrubs, the lat. Accordin 'til Wullie these plants that tuk o'er efter the Caul Snap are called Native Spices. "So," Ah sez 'til Wullie," whit kine o' plants were knackin' aboot?" "Well," sez he, "thar wud hiv bin Oak trees, Hazel an' Ash, awl gran' trees, bit the best o' them was the Scots Pine." "Whit????" sez I (who cudnae be ersed wi inverted commas anymair). Whit in the name o' the Laird was a Scots Pine dain' in what some wud term "Ireland"? (Ok so ah threw a cuple mair in thair)

Wullie explained that awl the seed that got til "Ireland" had tae cum frae whit we noo call 'o'er the watter' but there wasnae any watter in th'yon days. They must ah spread across a fertile soil, yin which ties the twa nations til this very day. He raisoned that the Ulster Scots claim on this bit o' groun' was verifyed by the fact that the Laird chose tae call yin o' the Native Spices the Scots Pine.


Burds are wile hard boys til place, on account o' the fact they tend til flit aboot the place. Fur example, the Swally lives in Africa a wile lat, but comes here fur his hallidays, which wud hardly make him a native baste. Howiver manys a burd lives here the year roun'. Yin o' these wud be the Rabin. Aiftin associated wi' Christenmas, the Rabin is famous fur his distinctive red breast. This, o' coorse, is the same colour as the Apprentice Boys. Likewise Blackbirds, check oot the 13th at Scarva, an' o' coorse the Great Tits, check oot Stormount. The Greenfinch is best left oot.


Wullie McIlveen has larned frae his studies that it is likely that burds an' plants got here first but that bastes fallyed soon behine. He has pinpointed the yinst baste tae arrive in Ulster as an otter frae Ayrshire, sometime aroond the 5th July 13598 BC. This baste was the yinst o' many tae settle in these parts (planters we may call them,) an soon Ireland was o'ercome wi' bastes - frae Limavady 'til Kilkeel. Archaeologits awl** agree that swiftly efter the otter came wulfs, bears, wilecats an' various oo'er bastes, awl comin' frae Scotland. The yin baste that archaeologits arenae so sure aboot is the pygmy shrew. They reckon that th'yon baste might be Spanish in origin, but agree that he is a crap baste compared til the Ulster Scots yins.

In sendin' the bastes frae Scotland, the guid Laird had layed his claim, an the future of Ulster wid be mapped oot fur centuries tae come.
Nixt time - Folk.

* On the advisin' o' oor soliciters Cash, Orr, Check, Fiddlin' an' Sleekit o' Katesbridge, we hiv deleted the name o' oor previous funders, fur fear they'd sue the erse aff us.
**Not awl agree.