Posts have been a bit sparse this week due to being away for two days on a residential with some other folks from a churches and Christian community organisations who are working within a Loyalist context. I have spent the rest of the week catching up, and preparing for the fact that, my significant other has been away in Scotland over the weekend and I am away for 4 days this week on a compulsory "retreat" to Sligo with Methodist colleagues (bringing echoes of the phrase "to hell or Connaught!"). So I haven't had a lot of time to breathe never mind blog.
But today is Burn's Night, and a very special one. Because, as well as being the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth, the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his "Origin of the Species", this is also the 250th anniversary of the birth of the ploughman poet... Quite a year...
Now, like a number of those at the residential this past week, I don't have a lot of time for the "Ulster Scots" industry, in all its many factions, that has developed here in a half baked attempt to trump the republican-Gaelic industry... It is ill-concieved and makes claims for itself that far exceed fact. This means that genuine Ulster-Scottish links get written off as bogus.
But as my significant other has pointed out over at the Ministry of Traybakes, there has always been a real connection between Robert Burns and Ulster. Slugger O'Toole has flagged up a few local events in celebration of this link, and I would like to point those of you who haven't already come across it, to this little gem from last year, of Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney reading his own tribute to the work of Burns and the community that, until recently at least, continued to speak his tongue.
But of course, those who have followed this blog over the last month or so will expect nothing more than the best possible tribute to Burns... by the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Company: