The Ullans Speakers Association has produced a new book written entirely in the Ullans Ulster Scots language. The book, Chronicles of the Aul Han, is a tribute to John McFall, former headmaster of Armoy Primary School. Given the career and background of the author of the original works, the group decided to launch the publication in Armoy Primary School with the consent and co-operation of the Principal and staff.
The launch was held on Tuesday 30 June and the setting was ideal for the content given that the Ulster Scots language is arguably the first language spoken by the people of Armoy. The proceedings were opened by a welcome and address by Mervyn Forsythe, chairman of the Ullans Speakers Association. Amongst those in attendance were pupils from Armoy Primary School along with their teachers who listened attentively as Mervyn introduced Anne Morrison Smyth, Development Officer from the Ullans Speakers Association. Anne told the children and invited guests about her work and a short history of the Aul Han. Next to speak was local poet and author, Charlie Reynolds, a member of the Ullans group and the principal researcher of the publication.
Gary Blair, Regional Development Officer from the Ulster Scots Agency, then addressed the meeting, congratulating the group on their publication and exhorting the children of Armoy to follow in the footsteps of John McFall by being attentive in school and, whilst using English in class, using Ulster Scots at all other times with pride as it is part of who they are.
The meeting was then addressed by local author, historian, former FEC Principal and past pupil of Armoy, Mr Alistair McReynolds. Alistair told the children and guests about some of the famous Armoy natives who had contributed to life in America, in particular the Fighting McCooks. Some of the pupils present shared this surname which is synonymous with the village and has been for centuries.
The final speaker was Mr Steven Shimon from DCAL who spoke on behalf of the Minister, Nelson McCausland MLA who was unable to attend the event.
School principal, Julie Neill brought the proceedings to an end by thanking the Ullans group for launching the book at Armoy and spoke favourably and positively about the Ulster Scots After Schools Clubs that had been held in the school. Those present then enjoyed a light tea provided by the school.
The Chronicles of the Aul Han was published by the Ullans Speakers Association and funded by the Ulster Scots Agency. Copies of the book are available at the Ullans Centre, 4 Victoria Street, Ballymoney, price �3.00.