Ulster Scots at the Frances Browne Literary Festival

The Frances Browne Literary Festival is unique in celebrating the three cultural and linguistic traditions of East Donegal. Every year our programme encapsulates elements of English, Irish and Ulster Scots. In the run up to our festival we’re highlighting events in each of the traditions, to help you find the events that interest you most. First up we’re looking at our Ulster Scots programme.

Festival Launch Gala Event - 8pm Thursday 12th, Letterkenny

Join us at An Grianan Theatre for the most culturally unique event in the North West each year, featuring performers of song, drama and poetry in English, Irish and Ulster Scots. We have lots of great performances lined up for you!

Our launch night is extra special this year as it features the premiere of ‘Strangers to Our Own’, a play based on real-life events of 19th century Donegal Ulster-Scots weaver poetess, Sarah Leech. This must-see premiere, by Ballybofey native Pauline Holland showcases the rich sounds of Ulster.

The action centres around Sarah and Richard Ramsey, who was Leech’s publisher, Trinity graduate, and gentleman poet from nearby Letterkenny. Leech’s poetry has reached his ears and he comes to Raphoe in search of her, determined to make her a literary star. It is the first play ever written about an Ulster-Scots weaver poet, and it features two real-life historical figures from Donegal. Following its hugely enjoyable and moving Rehearsed Reading at last year’s Festival, Strangers to our Own receives a full production thanks to the International Fund for Ireland and An Grianan.

Book it here.

Poetry Competition Awards Evening – 8pm, Friday 13th - Stranorlar

This free event offers the chance to hear emerging voices and experienced poets all in a room together for a literary event like no other. Listen to live readings of poems in all three languages by their authors.

This year we’re particularly looking forward to welcoming Ulster Scots writing group ‘Sheddas on tha Page’. Introduced by Anne Mc Master, their tutor and renowned poet and friend of the Festival they will share some of their new work with us, fresh from their recent performance at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast.

Book it here.

A wheen o wurds an’ a drap o tae - Saturday 14th, 2pm - Stranorlar

Join well known presenter, tour guide and Ulster Scots, Lolly Spence, for a relaxed and convivial chat about how we speak and spoke in Ulster. Lolly will give an informal introduction to the origins of the ‘Hamely Tongue’ and guide us in our (re)discovery of Ulster Scots. No experience needed-just a willingness to chat and share.

Book it here

Strangers to Our Own / An Introduction to Frances Browne – 7pm/ 9pm, Saturday 14th – Lifford

Not able to make our launch event for the premiere of Strangers to Our Own? We’re offering a second showing in the wonderful surrounds of Lifford Old Courthouse. After the performance, you will have a unique opportunity to meet playwright Pauline Holland in an intimate post-show conversation, moderated by playwright Shirley-Anne Godfrey.

Join us just for the play (starting at 9pm) or make the most of your evening by coming along early for a talk on Frances Browne and to enjoy dinner in the Lifford Old Courthouse bistro - the very room where criminals used to be sentenced!

Shirley-Anne Godfrey, author, playwright and Frances Browne expert will bring Frances to life with a short talk on her life and works. She’ll show just how successful Frances was in her day and examine some of the possible reasons for her disappearance from cultural memory.

Book it here.

Full details of our programme and how to book can be found on our website, or send us an email at info@francesbrowneliteraryfestival.com