Pearl of Tyburn: Today I’m interviewing Alan Day, the founder of the Ulster-Scots Online Website and The Orange Chronicle Website and a resident of Northern Ireland. Hello, Mr. Day.
Alan Day: Greetings.
P.T.: Could you please give us a quick biographical sketch about your family background?
A.D.: My mother is from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. My father is from Leicestershire in England and was in the Army. I was born in what was then West Germany in the British Military Hospital in Rinteln. I have two brothers - one born in Scotland and the other in Northern Ireland.
We moved about a lot but lived in Scotland for a couple of years in Kirkcudbright around primary school age. The Army was based nearby. When my youngest brother was born, we returned to Scotland just after I had entered the first year of High School and I attended Kirkcudbright Academy and then the University of Paisley before moving to Northern Ireland to look after my grandmother at the age of 23.
P.T.: How did you get involved in The Orange Order?
A.D.: A couple of years after moving to Northern Ireland I was asked by a friend if I would be interested in joining the lodge. To be honest I didn’t know much about it and wasn’t religious or a church attender. I have to say that becoming an Orangeman along with my mother taking a brain tumour were all instrumental in myself becoming a born again Christian.
P.T.: How did you become active in your work to preserve Ulster-Scots culture?
A.D.: I got involved with Ulster-Scots through articles, particularly history articles appearing in news papers and online. Having a mother from Northern Ireland and having lived in Scotland I could see the linguistic and cultural links clearly.
I responded to an advert in the local paper (Mid-Ulster Mail) with regards the formation of the South Londonderry Ulster-Scots Association where we held numerous concerts in the local high schools, performed living history re-enactments & floats at various events including the Twelfth. We were given a platform in local schools and brought the Ulster-Scots Agency community radio station fUSe FM to Maghera.
P.T.: What inspired to create Ulster-Scots Online and The Orange Chronicle?
A.D.: I created the Ulster-Scots and Irish Unionist Resource website which later became the Ulster-Scots Online website which has been going for many years and gone through some major changes. There are Twitter and Facebook pages connected with the site.I also created The Orange Chronicle website around the same time and has connected Twitter page and a Facebook page with 12,000 followers.
P.T.: What is your opinion on The Scottish Independence Referendum?
A.D.: With regards the Scottish independence referendum - I am very much in favour of retaining the Union. I have lived all around the UK and feel British and have a particularly affinity for Scotland & Northern Ireland. To rend Scotland from the rest of the UK would be heart breaking.
P.T.: What have you been doing with regards to the referendum?
A.D.: Unfortunately I do not have a vote in the referendum but I will be raising my voice in support of the Union and urging friends in Scotland to vote No.
P.T.: What would you say the similarities are between Irish and Scottish nationalism?
A.D.: With regards Northern Ireland, it will obviously go tribal with obvious splits, albeit Sinn Fein seem to be going ever so softly about associating themselves with Scottish nationalism, perhaps so as not to taint the Yes campaign with IRA baggage. However, social media shows that Irish Republicans and Sinn Fein types are indeed Yes supporters (Bernadette Devlin McAliskey has been campaigning and speaking at with Radical Scottish Independence events).
P.T.: What about the comparison between Irish unionism and Scottish unionism?
A.D.: Unionists have also been mute as Scottish Unionism is not identical to Ulster Unionism and many are aware that Orangeism and Loyalism do not necessarily sit well with some sections of Scotland and may be counter productive in the independence debate. But I am glad in recent days we have had some voices raised from the DUP & UUP.
P.T.: What are your thoughts on the way that different political parties have interacted during the course of the referendum debate?
A.D.: The SNP has been very successful at framing the debate as Scotland vs. the Tories and I am glad to see that the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones and the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson have both spoken out this week. It is good to see such a wide political spectrum of campaigning for a No vote from Unions, Labour, DUP, UUP, Lib Dems, Tories & Orange Order through UKIP.
P.T.: Thank you very much for giving me your perspective on the recent political proceedings, Mr. Day.
A.D.: Of course; my pleasure.