Ards and North Down Get Geared up for Ulster-Scots Festival Week

Ards and North Down celebrate their Ulster-Scots heritage with a week of activity beginning on Sunday 4th September at Cockle Row Cottages, Groomsport, and culminates with a spectacular finale, “Donaghadee Lights Up”, on Saturday 10th September.

Photo caption: Cup O’Joe. Just one of the bands taking part in Septembers Ulster-Scots Festival, playing in Holywood and Bangor.

The Ards and North Down we all know today was shaped in a large part thanks to the influences of Sir James Hamilton and Sir Hugh Montgomery; arriving here in 1604 with Scottish settlers they brought with them new techniques in building, farming, and of course culture, arguably creating the “home” of the Ulster-Scots.

Their influences have stayed with us ever since in our music, food and even language, all of which will be celebrated during the first week in September across the Borough.  From talks, including Time McGarry’s “Ulster-Scots Odyssey” and the history of Bluegrass, to music, from ever popular groups such as Cup O’Joe and Down and Out Bluegrass Band, coupled with historic walks and family fun; there should be something for all tastes throughout the week.

The activities, being run in conjunction between Ards and North Down Borough Council and the Ulster-Scots Agency, culminate on Saturday 10th with “Donaghadee Lights Up”, a free event featuring the world-renowned Red Hot Chilli Pipers and a spectacular display of fireworks.

Catriona Holmes from the Ulster-Scots Agency, commenting on the festival said, “We are delighted to be working with the Council on the week-long festival. The influences of the Scottish settlers on the area are something that is still evident today.  With many unaware of our heritage and culture, we hope that through the week’s activities we can both entertain and educate visitors and locals alike on how the Ulster-Scots shaped where many of us call home”.

For the full program of activity and tickets log on to or

T: 028 9127 0069 or 028 9182 6846 for more information.