Doubling, Birling and Hirplin On: “Post Conflict” Thought in Ulster-Scots Writing.

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Despite a long existence on the island of Ireland, the Ulster-Scots literary tradition has had more than its share of conflict and contestation. Often perceived negatively as a disturbance in or failure of language, it has often fought to be celebrated or even appreciated as one of the key literary traditions of Irish writing. Though it has been persistently dogged by controversy and questioned by some as to its very existence and authenticity, the tradition has proved itself remarkably adept at survival and finding ways of exploring its cultural, social and community existence with creativity, verve and determination. Throughout its long history the tradition has sought various approaches and methodologies to express the feelings of its writers as they dealt with conflict and its aftermath. In this paper I will discuss how writers in four key stages of the literary tradition engage with Ulster-Scots language and literature as the means to chart, examine and come to terms with the experience of trauma. Taking examples from the United Irish Rebellion, the Scotch-Irish Diaspora, the Northern Irish Troubles and the period after signing of the Good Friday Agreement I will argue how they utilize language, literary genre and traditional tropes as the means to both recall and obscure memory, question certainties and problematize the view that they are engaged in safe and nostalgic literary ventures. On the contrary, I will suggest that they allude to significant political, philosophical and aesthetic intentions that require further analysis and exploration.
Period2 Jun 2021
Held atFaculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Degree of RecognitionInternational