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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Any exploration of the waves of migration and bonds of association that have characterized the historic relationship between Scotland and Ireland must begin with a consideration of the physical geographical context within which this human history was played out. Firstly, let us consider the North Channel, the body of water that lies between the tip of the Kintyre peninsula and Torr Head on the north Antrim coast. Even today, those who regularly traverse this ‘narrow sea’ talk in the vernacular idiom about going ‘ower the sheugh’, a sheugh in Irish meaning a field drainage ditch and thereby emphasizing the limited impediment to contact. This perspective may be widened to accommodate a view of the entire body of the Irish Sea as acting over the longue durée as an inland sea or inland waterway, a bridge to coastal cultural contact rather than a barrier. The accession in March 1603 of James VI of Scotland to the English throne as James I served to affect a significant transformation in how Scottish migration to Ireland was viewed from London or Dublin.

Keywords: Scotland, migration, Ireland, North Channel, Irish Sea, James VI

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