This film is part of Free

Ulster Sails West

A patriotic take on the Ulster-Scot emigration to North America and how these "stubborn people" shaped America and its politics.

Documentary 1974 27 mins

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Logo for Northern Ireland Screen


Ulster Sails West explores Northern Ireland’s links with America. Inspired by Marshall’s Ulster Sails West (1943), the programme demonstrates the extensive influence of Ulster-Scots in various aspects of life in America. Telling the story of the quarter of a million Ulster Scots who “fled from persecution and poverty at home” the ballad takes us on a journey through their history. Presenter Charles Witherspoon’s narrative is illustrated by Rowel Friers’s paintings.

Friers was a political cartoonist, performer and painter. He strove to reflect political absurdities of Northern Ireland with impartiality, saying ‘I have no side in all of this. I just make fun of all the madness.’ A graduate of the Belfast College of Art he contributed to the arts throughout his life as President of both the RUA and Ulster Association of Drama Festivals. Part of the About Britain series, Ulster Sails West is courtesy of the UTV Archive.