‘Danders Aroon’ with the Ulster-Scots

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'Danders Aroon' Northern Ireland with Graham Little and the Ulster-Scots

Tired of walking the same trails? Join Graham Little as he explores ten short trails along the coast of Northern Ireland and unlocks their connection to the Ulster-Scots. Through a series of short videos Graham encourages us to explore these hidden gems for ourselves and additional bonus videos help bring the trails to life!

Each walk is inspired by their links to the early Ulster-Scots arrival in Northern Ireland. From tales of smugglers on the Antrim coast and traditional Ulster Scots poetry to insights into the history of the people who first settled on these shores there is something for everyone!…you might even learn a new word or two!

‘Danders Aroon’ Dunseverick, Co.Antrim, 2.5-miles (can be extended to 4.5-miles)
‘Take and danner along the pad and rodden’ of the Causeway Coast in Co. Antrim and discover the ‘Kingdom of Dalrida’ and its strong Scottish links. Back in ancient times legend tells us that the Scots are originally from Antrim and travelled across from Dunseverick to Dunadd in Argyle. This is one of the best known of the settlements on both sides of the Channel. ‘Over thonder’ you will be able to see Rathlin Island and on a good day you can see the coast of Scotland. The walk to Dunseverick can be extended depending on how adventurous you are feeling. We recommend checking the tide times before heading off on this walk as some sections can be difficult to pass during high tide.

Additional videos have been created to help you discover more about ‘The Kingdom of Dalriada‘ and the interesting words and phrases used by the Ulster-Scots ‘The Coast and the Hamely Tongue‘.

‘Danders Aroon’ Donaghadee’, Co.Down 2.4/3-miles
The town of Donaghedee at the top of the Ards Peninsula is one of the most important settlements in Ulster-Scots history. This mostly flat 2.5/3 mile walk on public path explores the harbour where many Scottish settlers landed in the early 17th century and takes in other important historic sites. From the coastal path keep your eyes peeled for the various birds including ‘mussel pickers‘ and ‘wully dookers‘ who can often be spotted diving into the water in search of fish.

Discover more about ‘Sir Hugh Montgomery: Founding Father‘ and ‘The Wully Dooker‘ in these additional videos.

‘Danders Aroon’ Islandmagee, Co.Antrim, 2-miles
Another hidden gem of the Antrim coastline is Islandmagee. This 2 mile walk has significant highland and lowland Scottish connections. The trail passes Muck Island, a wildlife sanctuary connected to the mainland via a natural causeway (the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland). Early inhabitants of Islandmagee are believed to have named the island after its resemblance to a sleeping pig ‘muck’ in Irish. In Scots Gaelic a ‘Porpoise’ was called a sea pig and lots of porpoises and dolphins can be found around these bays. Lots of smuggling is believed to have taken place in this area, look out for the smugglers caves as you walk along this boulder strewn coastal path.

Find out more about the sneaky ‘Smugglers‘ in this area and listen to a reading by Mark Thompson of the poem ‘The Banks of Larne‘, written by James Orr, the ‘Bard of Ballycarry’.

‘Danders Aroon’ Belfast Lagan, Co.Antrim, 3.5-miles
Follow the trail of Ulster-Scot Industrialists along this 3.5 mile section of trail following the path of the ‘Lagan Waters‘ known better today as the River Lagan. The walk takes you across a series of bridges and into Clement Wilson Park named after Scotsman Robert Clement Wilson. The path through this part was built over an old mill race that took water to Wilson’s factory. We recommend taking time to sit by the riverbank and listen to one of the additional videos where Mark Thompson recites ‘The Weavin‘, a poem written in the Ulster-Scots language by Agnes Kerr.

Check out an additional video which explains more about how Belfast got nicknamed ‘Linenopolis‘ and the significant role played by the Ulster Scots.

‘Danders Aroon’ Delamont, Co.Down, 1.25-miles
The 1.25 Strangford trail is one of many fantastic trails you can enjoy in this country park. We recommend taking a quick detour from the path and check out the Strangford Stone a 12-metre monolith hauled into place in 1999 by 1,000 young people to mark the Millennium. From this viewpoint ‘over thonder’ you will be treated to spectacular views of Strangford Lough, Saint Patrick on the hill and towering above it all on a good day the mighty Mourne Mountains. The home of Sir James Hamilton one of the founding fathers of the Ulster-Scots established his family home nearby. We recommend taking some time to watch the ‘Crit the Cran’ from the bird hide above Heron Island where these majestic birds nest every winter and listening to Mark Thompsons reading of ‘Heron‘ by JK Annand, an Ulster Scots poem from the Ballads of County Down before continuing your walk.

An additional video has also been created to help you find out more about ‘Sir James Hamilton: Founding Father‘.

‘Danders Aroon’ Bushmills, Co. Antrim, 2.25miles

The Ulster Scots walk is a circular route starting and finishing at the Ulster Scots Alphabet Angel statue in Bushmills. It’s a flat course, part of it following the old Causeway Tram Route, and also taking in the River Bush and the beautiful Bushfoot Strand. It’s about 2.25 miles but there’s also the option of extending the route along the beach or shortening it by parking at the heritage railway carpark on the Balamore road. Listen to Ulster-Scots speaker and poet Charlie Gillen as he reads his poem, River Reverie in the additional video.

‘Danders Aroon’ Bangor, Co. Down, 3miles

This 3mile coastal walk goes from Bangor’s Ballyholme Beach to Groomsport and back. Both settlements were developed by Sir James Hamilton and his Scottish tenants in the early 1600’s, so the area has strong Ulster-Scots connections.

In the additional video, Ulster-Scots speaker and poet Charlie recites a beautiful old poem, The Man Fae God Knows Where, by Florence Wilson.

‘Danders Aroon’ Slemish, Co. Antrim, <1mile

Slemish has lots of Ulster-Scots heritage, illustrated in these videos from Graham Little’s ‘Danders Aroon’. This short ascent is reasonably strenuous however your efforts are more than rewarded with fabulous views which are sure to re-energise any tired legs.

Ulster-Scots poet and speaker Charlie Gillen reads ‘The Wanderer’ by James Orr in the additional video. Orr is also known as the Bard of Ballycarry and was a poet and rhyming weaver from Ballycarry, County Antrim, who wrote in English and Ulster-Scots. This reading is set in Arthur Cottage, Cullybackey, County Antrim.

‘Danders Aroon’ East Belfast – Cregagh Glen & Lisnabreeny, Co. Antrim, 3miles

This route follows an attractive glen into the Castlereagh Hills with superb views over the city from the top. Don’t forget the beautiful waterfalls in the glen!

In the additional video, Ulster-Scots speaker and poet Charlie Gillen reads another Ulster-Scots poem, Blind, by Nesca Robb.

‘Danders Aroon’ Ards – Floodgate Walk, Co. Down, 4miles

The Ards Ulster Scots Walk (also known as Floodgates Walk) is a beautiful coastal walk with rich heritage that you can learn about as you take a stroll. This walk at the top of Strangford Lough leads along the sea wall that protects land, first claimed by Lord Londonderry, and now part of Newtownards town and a small private airport.

‘Macananty Fairy King of Scrabo Hill’ by George Francis Savage-Armstrong is read in the additional video by Ulster-Scots poet and speaker Charlie Gillen.

Don’t forget to tag us in your ‘Danders Aroon’ photos using #WalkNI and let us know your favourite Ulster-Scot word.

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