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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1999-10 > 0939356745

From: linda Merle <>
Subject: Re: One of many ways Scot got to Ireland ?
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999 21:25:45 -0700

Hi, the funny thing about Ireland is everything is politicized. It is one of the
unique features of the place. You made a political statement
when you dug peat with one foot or the other. History in Ireland is political.
So political that "neutral" schools of history have evolved. They tended to
offend everyone by appearing to make light of everyone's history. In Ireland
there is not a history. There is their history and our history.

Irish history is generally learned at your mother's knee. I am told it is not
taught even today in Northern Irish schools because it is too 'hot'. In the
Republic of course you are taught different histories depending on your
school's orientation.

Also almost all of the "Scotch Irish" history in the USA was written with a
political bend that may well be part of the Irish political scene, not the USA's,
and so is hard to detect. Or part of a larger "movement". Like in the 18th
and 19th century there was a drive to prove that the lowland Scots (and
everyone elese they could squeeze in) were not Celtic but Anglo Saxon.
That's bogus stuff. It's been disproven. Yet most still beleive that. Most
also beleive that the Scots who came to Ireland were all lowlanders
when many were highlanders. That's proven. Many different political
entities, especially the English, wanted to drive a wedge between the
native Irish and the Scots in Ireland because their alliance threatened
English control. It did in the Elizabeth age.

So King James I (VIth of Scotland) did form a Plantation in some Ulster
counties -- not Antrim or Co Down. They were already in the hands of
Scottish lords. Antrim had been conquored by the McDonalds, who had
claimed her since the middle ages as part of their kingdom. Going
back to 500 AD -- the poeple known as Scoti were in Antrim, and about
that time they established a colony (or Plantation <grin>) in Scotland,
which was inhabited by Picts. Eventually they displaced, killed or bred
out the Picts, and gave their name to the place. So the folk living in
Antrim and the folk living in the western sides of Scotland are the same
folk. They spoke the same language -- Erse. They liked to fight a lot,
which has been their downfall. They are still fighting with each other,
as we fight here. We like to fight! King James let the McDonald clan keep
Antrim in return for their allowing lowlanders to settle there. However if
you study the maps at this website:

You will see how Irish Antrim still is. This intermixing has left many feeling--
and being -- vulnerable to attack over the last 300 years.

King James wanted only tame, lowland Scots in Ireland, but he was in London.
The settlers wanted men who would work and bring in the harvests. They
ignored King James and circumvented his orders. So you get what the ENglish
wanted to happen and what did happen. What did happen is that the Irish
were displaced onto poorer lands but stayed as tenants. Among them settled
the Scots. Many of whom spoke ONLY Gaelic. In areas where the Catholic
church didn't have priests, everyone apparently became Presbyterian.
There is ample evidence of Irish names in early Presbyterians records. And
many Highlanders, who remained Catholic, think of themselves as Irish
today. (See Roger Blaney "Presbyterians and the Irish Language" for
early 17th century) . However as history played itself out, the Delraidians
or Scoto-Irish poeple, became separated in many ways -- religiously,
politically, mythologically.

The land on which James settled them had defaulted to the Crown because
the Irish lords rebelled and then left Ireland. It was the second rebellion (not
O'Neill's) that resulted in the large scale forfeiture. It was land that was legally
taken, according to English law at the time. He didn't "bring over" anyone.
He sold plots and gave some to Crown servants and in return they had to
promise to do certain things, like build a bawn and muster up a certain number
of men. In order to do that they had to convince some folk to come over and
farm on their land. This proved very hard to do. Several early plantation schemes
in the south had resulted in the massacres of the settlers. The ones who came
and survived were the toughest of the tough -- and when they later settled
the frontiers of the Americas, they were well prepared.

The slant on the American Revolution is a slant -- very pro Scotch Irish,
but only partly true. You cannot explain the whole Revolution as a Scotch-
irish event (without looking like someone heavily into folklore). It is not
easy to understand the Revolution -- its root causes go WAY back into
English history into the 1630's or so. I do not beleive the causes of the
American Revolution really are understood even yet. Too much American
history is an attempt to boister up the American Myth -- which being
American, I love, but it's a construction created to justify
the Revolution, which was an ugly, violent, unjust thing, like all revolutions.

Hanna "The Scotch Irish" has a LOT of primary research material that
helps you understand the Ulster Scot in Ireland as well as the Plantation.
It has been republished by the Genealogical Publishing Co in Baltimore.

Cyril Falls "The Birth of Ulster" (Constable and Company, London, 1998
for my edition -- ISBN 0 09 478400 0 ) is a GOOD explanation of the
Plantation. Buy it at and you'll get a discount that
will offset the postage.

On the Internet one group that does a lot of publishing on the topic and to
my orangish eye does a fair representation is the Ulster Society: Check the link to their
New Ulster Journal. It has an article on emigration in the 18th century.
Their publications include a number of books of interest on the American/
Ulster connection.

This website has some links that point to other books:

The myths about the English driving forth the Scots Irish have always
amused me. Anyone ever try to make a Scots Irishman go anywhere he
didn't want to go? It would be worse than trying to herd cats. More like
trying to herd wild wart hogs.

Best of luck,

Linda Merle!

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