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From YouTube: My Meentith An Me


The earliest known Ulster-Scots poetry in Ireland is by William Starrat, a surveyor and teacher from Strabane, who had contacts with Allan Ramsay, the great Scots makar (poet) and precursor to Robert Burns. In his ‘Epistle to Ramsay’, Starrat places himself on Crochan Hill near Lifford in the pastoral style of the time. The earliest collection of Ulster-Scots poetry is in ‘An Ulster Miscellany’ dating from 1753; one of these poems, ‘Sisyphus of Human Vanity’, is believed to have been penned by Starrat, as is ‘Crochan Hill, a Scotch Sang’. In this short film, poet Alan Millar presents his own poem ‘My Meentith an’ me’, which was first published in the Ullans journal in 2018, and which explores the Donegal~Tyrone Ulster-Scots literary heritage of Starrat, linking past and present. The film, which will also include excerpts from Starrat’s work, aims to shine a light on the close links which the Derry City and Strabane District Council area has both with East Donegal and with the very earliest Ulster Scots literature. Allan Millar is a journalist by profession and has written extensively on the Ulster-Scots poetry tradition and on a range of topics relating to Ulster-Scots language and heritage. He has been writing Ulster-Scots poetry and prose for a decade or more, and has had work published in both the Ulster-Scots Language Society journal ‘Ullans’ and in the Scots Language Society journal ‘Lallans’. He edited the republished works of Ulster-Scots poet John McKinley in 2014. In 2021 Alan won the Scots Language Society Hugh MacDiarmid Tassie, for his poem ‘Wee Weaver Birdie’, and was the first Donegal poet and probably the first Irish/Ulster poet to have been awarded this honour. Alan has delivered a number of talks and readings on Ulster-Scots poets over the years, from The Broad Island Gathering, the Scots Language Society colloquy, and more recently at an anniversary event for the United Irishman William Orr in 2021. His poetry will feature as part of the BBC NI programme, ‘The narra sea, the further shore’, along with a selection of other poets and contributors who will explore the age-old links between Ireland and Scotland.