Home is everything to writer Ewen Glass – he’s from Ballymoney and is Ulster-Scots born and bred.
How can he preserve his language and Ulster-Scots cultural identity when he’s living in England? And how can he ensure his son, Nathaniel, grows up respecting, appreciating and understanding this heritage? In this film Ewen, now based in Lincoln, returns to ‘The Toon’, to Ballymoney, which he still claims as ‘hame’.
Hame isn’t a nostalgic tug at the heartstrings, it’s something richer and deeper and always there – a sense of belonging. This is a contemporary look at the Ulster-Scots language and its application to Ewen’s life as a writer and as a father of a young son, Nathaniel.
Though his son was born in England and has spent the first three years of his life there, Ewen wants to help him make his own connection to ‘hame’, and to the sense of identity that matters so much to his father. Ewen believes that this culture and language is a gift, one that he needs to pass on to the next generation. He looks forward to a time – hopefully in the not-too-distant future – when Nathaniel may also come to recognise and appreciate his own connection to ‘the Toon’.
To help him work out ways to make the Ulster-Scots language accessible for Nathaniel, Ewen meets a number of people and picks up some tips about how he might play a part in future-proofing the language through the things that endure and that he can actually influence – literature and his own writing.
The Toon – Back To Ballymoney is on BBC Two Northern Ireland on Sunday 22 May at 10.30pm. The film is a Triplevision Production for BBC Northern Ireland, with assistance from the Northern Ireland Screen Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund.