Comedian Kevin McAleer’s search for the Ulster-Scots takes him to some odd places. The Ards peninsula outside Belfast and…Monaghan. He is relieved that the Ulster-Scots word for rhubarb is actually rhubarb. That’s one less to remember. And encouraged when he meets some Ulster-Scots people who don’t have the same greying white hair that he does. Young people no less. Singing and dancing.
Northern comedian and writer Kevin McAleer returns to RTÉ Television with a four-part series, Our Friends In The North, in which he attempts to discover the heart and soul of Ulster Scots. On a road-trip through North Antrim, Donegal, Monaghan and County Down, he tries to determine who the Ulster Scots are and what their culture is like.
On his travels, McAleer encounters those who feel more at home in Scotland than Ireland, those who proudly wear the kilt and listen to Scottish music, and those who use the “Hamely Tongue”. But with a “Mc” in his own surname, is it possible that Kevin himself might even have some Ulster Scots in his system?
This is an emotive and over-due journey for Kevin. Raised in Ulster, he has spent over fifty years being largely oblivious to the world of Ulster Scots. In attempting to find out more about a “tribe” he has heard much of but knows nothing about, he meets a variety of people who tell him how much their Scottish ancestry means to them.
At the end of this short series, he performs a stand-up routine to an audience comprised entirely of Ulster Scots. Will Kevin McAleer’s humour and deadpan delivery transcend the many cultural differences he encounters throughout the series
Our Friends in the North is produced for RTÉ by Tern Television in Belfast with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund.