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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid


Given its proximity to south-west Scotland, Ulster is also home to versions of Scots songs which have travelled over with Scottish settlers as far back as the Plantations of Ulster from the 1600s to the more recent flow of migrant agricultural workers across the Irish sea.

Collector Sam Henry was the main editor of a column called Songs of the People, published weekly in the Coleraine newspaper, the Northern Constitution, between 1923 and 1939. Containing around 800 songs collected from an area within 20 miles around Coleraine, it includes many Scots songs such as Nae Bonnie Laddie Tae Tak Me Awa, A Beggarman Cam Ower the Lea, Johnny Ma Man, and a version of the Aberdeenshire song, 'Barnyards o Delgaty', called Linton Lowrie.  Of course, renditions of more local songs would also feature the Ulster Scots dialect.

Smatterings of Scots songs are to be found in the repertoires of Joe Holmes of Ballymoney, County Antrim (The Corncrake Amang the Whinny Knowes, The Dark-Eyed Gypsy, The Wedding of Lauchie McGrath), Eddie Butcher of Magilligan, Co. Derry (Nancy's Whiskey, Glenshee, The Wedding of Sandy MacNab), John Maguire of Roslea, Co. Fermanagh (The Bonnie Wee Lassie that Never Said No). The singer and researcher Len Graham of An Mullach Bán continues to champion the repertoire of these singers.

Further reading:
- Len Graham, Joe Holmes - here I am amongst you: songs, music and traditions of an Ulsterman, Four Courts Press, 2010
- Gale Huntington, Lani Hermann and John Moulden, Sam Henry's Songs of the People, University of Georgia Press, rep. 2010
- Robin Morton, Folksongs Sung in Ulster, Mercier Press, 1970