Speakers from Northern Ireland


Alister J. McReynolds

Alister J. McReynolds is the author of, Legacy, The Scots Irish in America and also of, The Ulster Scots &New England. Recently he has co-written a new Introduction to the 2012 publication, Robert Dinsmoor’s Scotch-Irish poems. In 2014 he published a follow-up to Legacy, entitled Kith and Kin: the continuing legacy of the Scotch Irish in America. Recently he co-authored a chapter in ,’The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants,’ Edited by Paul Burgess and Gareth Mulvenna. The Chapter was written with Professor John Wilson and entitled, ‘Celebration and Controversy in America: At Home with the Scots-Irish Diaspora.’ The latter book was a Palgrave Macmillan publication.

McReynolds earned his M.A. at the University of Ulster, having gained his initial Bachelor’s degree and two post-graduate Diplomas from Queen’s University, Belfast. He is currently an Honorary Research Fellow with The Centre for Irish and Scottish studies at the University of Ulster.

McReynolds has spent over thirty years as a teacher in his native Province of Ulster, fourteen of those years being engaged as Principal of a Further Education College. He was awarded Honorary Membership of City and Guilds of London Institute as recognition of his contribution to Vocational Education in Northern Ireland. Currently he continues to Lecture part-time with The Open Learning Department in Queen’s University Belfast.

In the past five years McReynolds has lectured all over the States including at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Nearer to home he was the presenter of the second Ulster Scots Agency sponsored Whitelaw Reid Lecture in Belfast.

He lives with his wife Eileen and their family at Magheragall in Co. Antrim.


Richard Hanna

Director of Education and Language

Ulster Scots Agency

Richard Hanna

Director of Education and Language

Ulster Scots Agency


Richard joined the Ulster Scots Agency in December 2017. Prior to that he had been Director of Education Strategy in the Northern Ireland Council for Curriculum Examinations and Assessment (CCEA). This organisation is responsible for advising Government on the mandatory curriculum for all schools in Northern Ireland, develops and publishes learning resources, and administers public examinations and statutory assessment of pupils’ performance in all schools.

He was responsible for the development of teaching and learning resources for the Northern Ireland school curriculum, in service training for teachers and statutory assessments in schools.

Richard was a high school teacher before joining CCEA and has Masters Degrees in Education from universities in the United States and Northern Ireland.

He is a Board member of Stranmillis University College, a teacher training institution in Belfast.


Linde Lunney

Linde Lunney was born in county Antrim, Northern Ireland. As a teenager she lived for a year with a family and attended Norris High School in East Tennessee, and realised the importance of the story of emigration from Ireland. After graduating from the university of Edinburgh and Queen's University Belfast, she had a position as a research fellow in Queen's and then took a job with the Royal Irish Academy's Dictionary of Irish Biography. She has worked ever since on a project which has seen the publication of thousands of scholarly biographies of Irish people, many of whom were emigrants. Her research interests include genealogy, eighteenth century life in Ireland and the networks which characterise Irish society in all periods, and she has published many articles and given many presentations locally; the 1718 emigration story summarizes her research interests throughout a lifetime

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William Roulston

Dr William Roulston has been the Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation since 2006. He holds PhD in Archaeology from Queen's University Belfast. His books include Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors, 1600-1800 (2005), Restoration Strabane, 1660-1714 (Dublin, 2007) and Abercorn: The Hamilton’s of Barons Court (Belfast, 2014). He is a Member of Council of both the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland and the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.


Helen Perry

Helen Perry received a B SC Environmental Design 1976 and B Architecture 1978 from Sydney University. She has over 17 years of developing, delivering and managing museum services within local authorities in Northern Ireland after 4 years of working in Dublin for a local community associations on the feasibility and development of a major science and technology museum. Helen has also delivered training  to museums, community, culture and heritage sectors within formal and informal learning frameworks for Northern Ireland Museums Council, Irish Museums Association, University of Ulster, Queens University,  Heritage Lottery Fund etc.Her responsibilities for the last 17 years  have included capital works schemes, museums’ policy, all aspects of collections management, public programming and operations of museums,  community engagement and outreach, fundraising, learning and PR.  

Helen has been a Board Member of Irish Museums Association and is currently Secretary of the Northern Ireland Regional Curators Group

Sarah Carson

Sarah has a BA (Hons) in Media and English from the University of Ulster and a PG Dip in Museum and Gallery Studies from University of St Andrews. She has been working with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Museum Service for over 8 years. Starting as the Collections Officer for Coleraine Museum and now the Museum Officer looking after Coleraine and Ballycastle Museum Collections. While the role has focused on Collections Management, exhibitions and events, Sarah also has experience in Volunteer management, education workshops and community projects.

Learn more about the Sam Henry Collection that Sarah will be discussion here. 

This talk will be of interest for those with Rathlin Island connections and the migration of 300 families to Washington County Maine.

Picture courtesy Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Pictured :Rachel Crawford, Gemma Reid, Collections Access Officer Sarah Carson, The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Maura Hickey, Sam Henry's grandson Gordon Craig, Chronicle Series Editor John Fillis and Museum Services Development Manager Helen Perry pictured outside the Northern Constitution and Chronicle offices in Coleraine. Sam's Songs of the People series was published in The Northern Constitution between 1923 and 1938.

Sarah Carson