Twarthy Poems

Designed to support the teaching and learning of Ulster-Scots at KS3.

Below is a list of how this resource informs the key learning areas within the Northern Ireland Key Stage 3 Curriculum. Full curriculum skills list available to download here.

Language and Literacy

Environment and Society History

Environment and Society Geography

Cross-Curricular Skills

A cudnae dae wioot ma tay,

Tae stairt me aff maist ivery day,

“A wee drap in yer haun”, the’ say,

Wairm, wat an strang,

Tha thang tae keep tha drouth at bay

Tha hale day lang.

Excerpt taken from Tay, by Fiona McDonald

The People behind the Project

Fiona McDonald

Fiona was born and raised in Newtownards, where her father’s family have lived since at least the 1700s. She grew up hearing and using much of the language and speech patterns now recognised as Ulster-Scots.

Fiona first discovered written Ulster-Scots when she borrowed a copy of WG Lyttle’s novel Betsy Grey from the library at Regent House School. Her book Cowie’s Craig is a compilation of items produced for the Ballyboley language classes and the Ulster-Scots Language Society’s publication, Ullans.

Fiona is a former committee member of the Ulster-Scots Language Society and the Ulster-Scots Academy Implementation Group, and a former Director of the Ulster-Scots Community Network.

Mabel Jenkins

Mabel is a storyteller. For eighteen years she was a guide at The Ulster Folk Museum where she gained a wealth of knowledge in folklore. Here she honed her craft, whilst educating the wide variety of visitors that came to Cultra.

Mabel’s interest in Ulster-Scots started when she met her husband, whose family are fluent speakers. Mabel says that she had to learn the language so that she could converse with her in-laws. 

Mabel is currently a member of the Armstrong Storytelling Trust and loves watching Ulster-Scots programmes on TV, as she feels it gives a voice to the language that she heard all those years ago.

Matthew Warwick

Matthew Warwick is the Education Officer with the Ulster Scots Community Network and an ardent proponent of all aspects of the Ulster-Scots tradition.

Born into a family that naturally conversed in braid Scotch in rural County Antrim, Matthew was immersed in ‘the hamely tongue’ from an early age.

As a result, he has developed a passion for Ulster-Scots literature and poetry, and particularly enjoys performing the works of the ‘Rhyming Weaver’ poets in what he hopes is a genuine and authentic voice.

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson has lived on the Ards Peninsula all his life, with Scotland visible every clear day. This rural community is an Ulster-Scots heartland, and Mark is immersed in the local traditions of the area.

He has collected books, songs, poems and rhymes from friends and relatives, and has a passion for sharing them with the wider world and the next generation.

Mark’s career is in graphic design and advertising but in recent years he has become an occasional presenter of BBC programmes on Ulster-Scots themes, such as the series Hame and most recently Walkin’ Hame.

Darren Gibson

Darren Gibson is an Ulster-Scots screever born an raired doon the Airds, in tha toonlan o’ Ballyfrenis nearhaun Millisle.

The ‘low country’ or lower Ards has been a source of constant inspiration in Darren’s writing. As a native Ulster-Scots speaker, he believes that the hamely tongue plays a vital role in understanding the identity of the Ulster-Scots people.

His written work first appeared in Fae tha pen o’ an Aul Han a newspaper column which ran for several years in the Belfast Newsletter. He was also a regular contributor to A Kist o Wurds on BBC Radio Ulster where more recently his documentary WG and Me was broadcast.

Darren has written several screenplays in Ulster-Scots, including the BBC’s first Ulster-Scots language production, Stumpy’s Brae. More recently Darren presented the highly acclaimed factual entertainment show Afeared. He is currently working on several shows for television as well as a feature length film in Ulster-Scots.