This July and August will see Groomsport embrace its Ulster-Scots heritage with the Ulster-Scots Agency and North Down Borough Council joining together to put on traditional Ulster-Scots entertainment in the village.
The entertainment will take place at Cockle Row Cottages, beside Groomsport Harbour, beginning Saturday 6 July with music and dance, and then each Sunday, through July and August, there will be a mix of traditional Ulster-Scots music, dancing, pipers and baking. The first weekend in September will see the season close with an Ulster-Scots / Eagle Wing finale including music, dancing, children’s entertainment, baking and period re-enactors.
Groomsport’s Ulster-Scots connections date back to the settlements of Sir James Hamilton at the turn of the 17th Century. During this early period Groomsport became known as a busy working port with ships passing back and forth from Scotland for both legal and illegal trade!
Groomsport was also where the ship Eagle Wing departed. The ship built to carry Presbyterian settlers to America at the time when they were suffering persecution in Ulster. On 9 September 1636, 140 passengers departed for the “New World”. The voyage however came to an end with fierce storms off Newfoundland, forcing its return on 3 November 1636 and dropping anchor in Carrickfergus.
The settlements as a whole saw hundreds immigrate to these lands, their influence largely responsible for shaping Ulster as we know it today.
The entertainment this summer will aim to celebrate these Ulster-Scots connections and the influence it has had on our culture and entertainment ever since.
Cockle Row Cottages are open weekends in May then daily from 1 June, 11am– 5pm with free family entertainment each weekend from 2pm-4pm. In addition to the Ulster-Scots content the programme features children’s entertainment including face painting, magic shows, animal road shows, along with music and craft fairs to name a few.