Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Eleventh Night Beacon

Went down to the harbour last night, where the local community association had organised a (gas powered) beacon to be lit, a short performance by the flute band, and a firework display for the traditional 11th Night celebrations.

It was a beautiful evening, and the intention was that the beacon could be seen in Scotland. A nice simple event, plenty of local folk to yarn with, but Maggie couped and skint her wee knees so there were some tears and yelling, but all in all a nice evening with no drink or nonsense.

(Apart from some fancy folk who had wandered over from their houses, large glasses of wine in hand. Very posh for wee Ballyhalbert!)

The lighting of beacons on the facing coasts of Ulster and Scotland has happened many times over the centuries, including during the Covenanters period:

"...1641: The “Scotch Rising” in Ulster
In April 1641, the authorities in Ulster reported ‘disorders lately attempted by some of the inferior sort of the Scottish nation in the Counties of Down and Antrim’. Copies of Scotland’s National Covenant were circulating in Ulster - one of the suspects who had been arrested reported that ‘that there was such a scroll, and that it had been carried through the country and signed by 1,000 people and more’. Ulster Scots also protested at parish churches, and rumours abounded that the ‘rowtes’ (riots) in Antrim and Down had been instigated by ‘beacon fires on the Scotch Mountains’. As events escalated King Charles I acknowledged that he had heard news of ‘the Scotch rising in Antrim and Down… in contempt of the State and Established Church’ , ordering his forces in Ulster ‘to stop outrages, you shall declare martial law wherever you use troops’..."

(See the full story here)

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Stephen Jamison said...

Mark you should send that pic of the bass drum Ballyhalbert Flute Band with the light in the bacground to the News Letter. It,s a great picture.
Stephen J.

Mark Thompson said...

Thats not a bad idea, if I win I'll buy you a cup o tay!