One of the most obvious omissions in the Ulster Museum is the Hamilton & Montgomery settlement in east Down, which began in May 1606, the year before the Flight of the Earls and several years before the official Plantation of Ulster. Thousands of Lowland Scottish families migrated to Ulster in the years that followed, providing the foundation for the later Plantation of Ulster.
Sir James Hamilton and Sir Hugh Montgomery were the 'founding fathers' of the Ulster-Scots and yet there is no mention of them. Their settlement was 'the dawn of the Ulster-Scots' and yet it is omitted from the museum story.
In his book The Narrow Ground, the respected historian Dr A T Q Stewart said:
Hamilton & Montgomery... did not wrest a fertile, cultivated and prosperous region from Gaelic proprietors. They came instead to a country devastated by war and famine... they created the bridgehead through which the Scots were to come into Ulster for the rest of the century...
What explanation can there be for the omission of the Hamilton & Montgomery settlement?It is the eastern Scots plantation, old and new, which is the real Plantation of Ulster … When we try to establish a relationship between the Plantation of Ulster and the existence of Northern Ireland in the twentieth century, we must be aware of certain ambiguities and some imponderable factors. The distinctive Ulster-Scottish culture, isolated from the mainstream of Catholic and Gaelic culture would appear to have been created not by the specific and artificial plantation of the early seventeenth century, but by the continuous natural influx of Scottish settlers both before and after that episode ... Immigration from Scotland was fairly continuous for centuries before 1609, and was a fact of geography rather than a fact of history.
Anyone seeking information on the Hamilton and Montgomery should visit http://www.hamiltonmontgomery1606.com/ which was researched and written by Mark Thomspon and Dr John McCavitt.