Friday, 26 May 2017

'Knowing who we are' really matters

'Origin narratives form the vital core of a people's unifying identity and of the values that guide them.' Professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

So our origin narrative, where we come from, shapes our identity and our values!

Well if an 'origin narrative' is so important, what are children learning about their 'origin narrative' in the education system in Northern Ireland?

For those children from an Ulster-Scots tradition, do they learn about the following?
  • The arrival of Scottish settlers in east Ulster, under Sir James Hamilton and Sir Hugh Montgomery, which happened before the 'flight of the Gaelic earls'
  • The forced removal of many border reivers from the Scottish borders to Fermanagh by King James I
  • The role of the Earl of Antrim, a wealthy Roman Catholic landowner, who invited lowland Scottish Presbyterians across to become tenant farmers on his land
  • The official plantation of some of the counties of Ulster
  • The 1641 rebellion, when Protestant settlers were killed by Irish rebels or died from hunger and disease
  • The persecution of the Presbyterian Covenanters in Scotland, which led to more Scottish settlement in Ulster
  • The siege of Londonderry and the determination of the defenders to hold out against the Jacobites
If a radical American academic can recognise the importance of an 'origin narrative' why does our education system not give it the attention it deserves?


  1. What about the people who descend from the settlers who came here from England during the plantation period?

  2. I often refer to the three-traditions model of Ulster history and that is easily illustrated by looking at Downpatrick where three streets meet at a road junction below the Church of Ireland cathedral - English Street, Irish Street and Scotch Street. Those are the three influences that have shaped modern Ulster.


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