Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1997-05 > 0863044860

Subject: Gaelic surnames/spelling
Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 22:41:00 +0000

> Excellent discussion!
> I would add, as a suspected descendant of French Huguenots passing
> through Ireland on the way to America, I am most attracted to the
> "Scotch-Irish" designation for several reasons.
> 1) It does not historically imply simply another geographical branch
> of Scots culture. Traditionally immigrants to America of the
> non-Gaelic Irish Catholic grouping all adopted this imprecise term.
> 2) It recognizes the two predominant cultures that Huguenots, Dutch,
> Anglo-Irish &/or Plantation English and even converted Protestant
> Irish folk all eventually intermarried into a new and distinctive
> people - both concentrated in (but not limited to..) the north of
> Ireland and the New World.
> 3) As Southerners, Scotch-Irish culture was so prevalent that it
> lost all self-consciousness. McWnitney's Craker Culture speaks
> eloquently to this identity that has definitely grown beyond a
> strictly Scottish subgroup.
> Some thoughts:
> "Ulster British" is an excellent term to patriotically express the
> unity of all loyal elements in Ireland but is obviously politically
> charged. While geographically descriptive, it can imply cultural
> loyalty rather than historical lineage.
> "Scots Irish" is best used to describe the direct cultural
> connection of Scotland for so many in Northern Ireland. ("Ulster
> Scots" seems an even more exclusivist term to establish a separate
> region and culture from say "Gaelic Irish.")
> "Ulsterman" remains a geographic description as many nationalist and
> RC elements claim their identity with the historic province as do
> the other communities. ("Northern Irish" remains a technically
> neutral term but can imply conformity with the status quo for
> nationalists and cultural distance to some in the unionist camp.)
> Well there Gareth, I did it. If you lost some "toes" I may have
> just offered my leg!
> Perhaps someone else would like to fine tune or demolish some of
> these points?
> -Baron

Thanks for this- it is clearing up in my mind what Scots-Irish and
Scotch-Irish mean. I think these are more interesting and useful
designations than I had thought and could be potentially useful for
terminology within Northern Ireland. It seems to me that a synthesis
occurred in the US of peoples that had been to some extent separate in
Ireland and so we get the term Scotch-Irish. Interestingly this
synthesis is very similar to that occuring in Ireland last century by
which the protestant groups coalesced in the face of Irish
nationalism. I dont like the use of the term 'Ulster-British' to
define this young ethnic group as it is so politically charged (just
as you say)- the term Scots-Irish as used by yourself above seems much
better. I am going to see what other people think about this!

Best wishes,
Gareth Cromie


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