Thursday, 19 June 2008

Irish medium schools in Lisnaskea, Fermanagh

Leah Greene a pupil at the Lisnaskea Bun Scoil had a very important person to play with at school on tuesday when the Education Minister Caitriona Ruane was in to officially opeher school. Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, yesterday opened the latest Irish medium school, Bunscoil an Traonaigh in Lisnaskea.

The school opened in 2004 and was located initially in the grounds of Lisnaskea Emmets GAA grounds on the Derrylin Road. It then moved to its permanent site at Drumbrughas North, at the Maguiresbridge end of the town in 2007. The current enrolment is 27.Bunscoil an Traonaigh and the local Naiscoil an Traonaigh (nursery) are unique in that they are the only Irish medium primary and nursery schools in Fermanagh. The Minister shared a platform with Sean Ó Loinsigh, the chairman of the Board of Governors, Peter Quinn who was there as a special guest, and Pilib Ó Runaí from Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta. The event was marked with the planting of a commemorative tree, the unveiling of a plaque and a formal presentation of gifts by the pupils.

Welcoming the school to its new site, the Education Minister told the attendance that it was a pleasure to see the Irish language growing in the Fermanagh area, and she congratulated everyone at Bunscoil an Traonaigh for their hard work and dedication in realising that their school could be a success and give parents in the area the option of an Irish medium education for their children.

She went on: "As Minister for Education, I believe in equality and that every child has the right to a quality education."I have a duty and a responsibility to encourage and facilitate Irish medium education and give parents the option of educating their children through the Irish language. "I understand that many parents who send their children to Irish speaking schools may not speak the language themselves', she stated, "but this has been demonstrated to have no impact on a child's learning. "In fact, I myself would view it as an opportunity for parents to share the experience with their child and learn Irish alongside them. "The ability to speak another language can open up a world of new experiences, literature and culture."
(story from the Fermanagh Herald, on line edition)

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Ulster Symposium in Late June

This is a reminder for our readers who will be in Ireland about the upcoming Ulster American Heritage Symposium which will be held at the Ulster American Folk Park, 25-28 June, 2008.

The Ulster American Folk Park is easy to get to and there is a lot to see and do there as well. The Folk Park is located in Castletown, which is just to the north of Omagh, very close to the beautiful Sperrin Mountains. Not to be missed is a trip into the Sperrins to have a pint in the Ponderosa, the highest pub in Ireland; great pub grub there too, and live music if you catch them at the right time.

below, the Ponderosa Pub

The talks are open to the public for a nominal fee, one can attend individual lectures. There are several interesting themes being covered; New Perspectives on race and ethnicity, Migration and evidence of Art, Music and song, Challenging stereotypes, and Family Connections and Cultural Expressions, just to name a few.

above, third from the left is William Roulston, one of the chairs at the symposium, seen here being interviewed by the BBC

This is an excellent opportunity to hang out with some of the leading historians, writers, etc., in the field of Ulster history, society and culture. The events are a lot of fun with ad hoc discussion groups forming in the pubs into the night.

The particular theme of the meeting in 2008 will be 'Changing Perspectives, 1607-2007' with the aim of presenting and exploring recent research that challenges habitual ways of thinking about the historical relationship between Ulster and North America over the last four hundred years.

Further information can be found on the Centre for Migration Studies website.

Barry R McCain

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


Here is a link to Libertas below, now of course the Ulster Heritage Magazine has not one iota of political sentiment, but we do have common sense, we do suggest you have a look at this what Libertas has to say. For those who are eligible to vote, we urge you to do so.

Barry R McCain

Taking a hit for one's ancestry, Senator Jim Webb

Here in the Diaspora it is the silly season; politics, lads and lassies. One son of Ulster is taking a few hits. Senator James Webb has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate for Barack Obama. A few Republicans bloggers have already jumped to attack James Webb for what they see as his pro Confederate sentiments. This means he acknowledges real history, always dangerous. One Republican blogger stated he had the blood of an ancestor that had died in Andersonville! I assume he thinks James Webb should apologise? But perhaps we should then make the Blogger apologise as more Southerners died in Northern prison during the 1861-65 War. This could get confusing. Is there an etiquette we should observe?

I wonder about the wisdom of this type of attack given the fact that it will further alienate the Southern vote as the South is a place where heritage is still alive and well.

And from the opposite direction we have leftist academic Edward Sebesta with the University of Texas who sees Senator Webb’s views as racist somehow, even suggesting that members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are by definition racists. While this inflammatory rhetoric sells books, I suppose, does it really mean anything? It seems people are lining up on both sides to attack Senator Webb. Just a casual observation, but many times that is a sign you are doing something right in life.

Senator Webb is known to many as the author of the book Born fighting: how the Scots-Irish shaped America. The book is a good read and is a history of the Scots-Irish in American as told by a descendant. The book breaks out of the old Victorian paradigm and places the Scots-Irish in a more realistic Irish Sea context. Senator Webb is a friend of another Ulster descendant, Senator John McCain, who was good enough to write a nice review of Webb’s book. I think Senator Webb deserves much better than to have his ankles nipped at by wee dogs, but that’s politics, I guess.

Politics is entertaining if nothing else when it is all said and one, and I like very much what Will Rogers said, Don’t vote, it only encourages them!

Now I have an idea, how about a presidential ticket of Senator John McCain and Senator James Webb! Sounds like a winner to me. On a more serious note, it is good to see two men of Ulster ancestry active in presidential politics.

Barry R McCain © 2008

Monday, 9 June 2008

Scots-Irish Festival Fun In South Carolina

The 12th annual Clover Scottish Games and Scotch-Irish Festival, Feis Chlobhair, will be held Saturday, June 14, 2008 at Clover Memorial Stadium, Clover, SC.

above, the Celtic band, Gael Warning on stage, Celtic Music with a Southern sound

The Clover, South Carolina, Scottish Games and Scots-Irish Festival takes place 14 June. There is a pan Celtic favour to the event, which features Gaelic athletic events, music, Irish dancing, Highland dancing, music and more. The band Gael Warning will perform. The Clover festival uses arts, crafts, athletics, music and traditions to inspire young people to keep traditions and heritage alive.

left, Irish dancers show their skills
Also featured is the Border Collie Exhibition which is one of the most entertaining events of any Scottish or Scotch-lrish Festival, especially for the children. This year we are indeed fortunate to have Bill Coburn and his award-winning dogs. Joy has won the South Carolina Border Association two years back to back and Bud won this past year. Bill and his dogs have performed throughout North and South Carolina.
Armed Forces Appreciation

The 2008 Clover Scottish Games are dedicated to former and present members of the U.S. Military who served in peace and war to preserve our freedom. An Armed Forces appreciation ceremony will take place at 1:00 p.m.; all veterans are invited to participate.

Other activities
Gastonia Rugby 7’s Tournament
Genealogy and Clan Tents
Celtic Merchandise Vendors
Food vendors
Children's Activities

Want To Go?
Date: Saturday, June 14, 2008
Time: 9AM – 4PM
Venue: Clover Memorial Stadium
Admission and Parking: Free
Sponsored by: Greater Clover Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Clover

For more information call 803-222-3312, email, or visit