Common Identity I

Tonight I attended the launch in the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University, Belfast of the book ” Ulster-Scots in Northern Ireland Today: Language, Culture,Community” by Professor Wesley Hutchinson of the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3. It was No 38-2 Automne-Hiver 2013 of the Études Irlandaises, Revue française d’histoire, civilisation et littérature de l’Irlande. publiée avec le concours du service des relations culturelles de l’ambassade de l’Irlande, des universités de Caen, Lille 3, Reims, Rennes 2 et Paris 3 et du Ireland Fund France and was published by the Presses universitaire de Rennes. The following is my own contribution. I am grateful for the assistance of my colleague Helen Brooker of Pretani Associates and former chair of the Ullans Academy in the preparation of this paper. 


Common Identity 

Ian Adamson [1]

Author and founding Chairman of the Ulster-Scots Academy 


This paper is designed to show how my involvement in the development of the early Ulster-Scots movement has evolved in recent years towards using the Ulster-Scots tradition as part of a broader panoply of cultural expression. It highlights the ways in which the search for parity of esteem can be enhanced for that important section of our community, the Common People, through an awareness of their Common Identity. 


Ullans Academy, Ulster-Scots movement, community, identity 


Cet article essaie de montrer comment mon engagement aux débuts du mouvement Ulster-Scots a évolué récemment vers l’insertion de la tradition Ulster-Scots au sein d’une gamme d’expression culturelle plus large. L’article souligne les façons dont l’équilibre culturel peut être valorisé pour cette composante importante de notre communauté – les gens ordinaires – à travers une sensibilisation à l’identité commune qu’ils partagent.

Mots clé :

Ullans Academy, mouvement Ulster-scots, communauté, identité 

On 13th January 1992 Professor René Fréchet of the Sorbonne wrote to me to ask for permission to translate my book, The Ulster People [2], into French and have it published by his University Press. He had spoken to his colleague, Paul Brennan, later to become Professor of Irish Studies at the Sorbonne, who had agreed to do so. Sadly, Fréchet’s tragic death on April 24th of that year obviated the possibility of that proposed translation and publication [3].   

It was during this time that I began to become more involved in the promotion of Ulster-Scots with my founding chairmanship of the Ulster-Scots Language Society and the establishment of an Ulster-Scots Academy [4]. Although Fréchet had not lived to see these projects develop, I would like to think that my vision for Ulster-Scots, as an integral part of an inclusive culture that stretches across the sectarian divide, would have met with his interest and approval.

[1] Ian Adamson is the author of a number of books dealing with historical and cultural issues in Northern Ireland, notably: Cruthin: The Ancient Kindred, Belfast, Pretani Press, 1974; The Identity of Ulster: The Land, the Language and the People, Bangor, Pretani Press, 1982; and, Dalaradia, Kingdom of the Cruthin, Belfast, Pretani Press, 1998. A former Lord Mayor of Belfast, he is the Advisor on History and Culture to Rev. Dr Ian R.K. Paisley PC, The Lord Bannside. He is also the originator and founding Chairman of the Ulster-Scots Academy, the Somme Association and the Unionist Centenary Committee.

[2] Ian Adamson, The Ulster People, Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern, Bangor, Pretani Press, 1991.

[3] See Ian Adamson, “The Ulster-Scots Movement, A Personal Account”, in Wesley Hutchinson & Clíona Ní Ríordáin (eds.), Language Issues Ireland, France, Spain, Brussels, Peter Lang, 2010, p. 33-42.

[4] NB The reader will understand that this body is distinct from the body referred to later in the paper, The Ulster-Scots Academy, whose creation is currently being envisaged within the framework of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Ulster-Scots.

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