In Autumn 2019, the Foundation’s Research Director Dr William Roulston delivered a 6-week course titled ‘The Story of Ulster, 1600–1800: A Social, Economic and Religious History of the Province over Two Centuries’. The course was organised under the auspices of the Ulster-Scots Agency (working specifically with Richard Hanna, the Director of Education & Language), and ran in conjunction with a programme delivered through the Senior College Program at the University of Southern Maine in New England (where the tutor was Rebecca Graham, President of the Maine Ulster Scots Project).

The venue for the course was First Dunboe Presbyterian Church Hall in Articlave, near Coleraine – a very appropriate location given the deep connections between that area and Maine. Thirty people registered for the course, with participants travelling from as far away as Donegal and Belfast to take part.

Galgorm Castle

The course provided an introduction to Ulster in the period 1600–1800 with a particular focus on the regions most affected by the 1718 migration to New England, namely the valleys of the rivers Bann and Foyle and the area in between. A thematic approach was adopted:

Week 1 – Plantation and settlement in Ulster in the seventeenth century

Week 2 – Religion and the churches in Ulster

Week 3 – People and the land in Ulster

Week 4 – Towns, villages and the economy in Ulster

Week 5 – Agrarian protests, radical politics and revolution in Ulster

Week 6 – Emigration from Ulster to the New World.

In conjunction with the course an online learning platform was developed by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA), which included additional information and provided a form for participants on the course on both sides of the Atlantic to share information and find out more about Ulster and Maine.

In April and May 2022 William repeated the course in the Maine Business Centre in the village of Cullybackey, County Antrim, Each evening 40–50 people were in attendance, with participants drawn from the local area and further afield. Since the course was held in Cullybackey there was a focus on developments in the Mid-Antrim region, though historical information was presented from across the nine counties of Ulster.