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Languages of Ulster

Exploring the rich and diverse heritage of languages in Ulster. 

About the programme

Using the Concise Ulster Dictionary, we learn about those who have preserved our languages and uncover the sources that have influenced how we speak. Broadcast on BBC Two Northern Ireland, the series will also be available on Freeview and Sky for viewers in the Republic of Ireland, and on iPlayer to viewers in the UK (following the broadcast of each of the episodes). 

Read more about the series on the BBC's programme pages , or explore more about the languages of Ulster below. 

Discover the range of qualifications and modules from the OU related to this programme:

Watch more

Watch our four exclusive short videos on Ulster Scots, Mid-Ulster dialect, Favourite words and The Irish language.

Ulster Scots

An impassioned reading of Fiona McDonald's poem, Fae Cowies Craig.

Mid-Ulster dialects

Learn about the diverse linguistic heritage of Ulster, its rich influences and proud adoption of those who've inherited it.

Favourite words

Kickshaws, thran, or meitheal - every word comes with a story, or a memory.

The Irish language

Discover the origins and history of this unique language of the world

Meet the experts...

John D'ArcyDirector of The Open University in Ireland and interim Director of The Open University in WalesVIEW FULL PROFILE
John D'ArcyDirector of The Open University in Ireland and interim Director of The Open University in Wales

John D'Arcy has been Director of The Open University in Ireland since October 2010. He has responsibility for the University in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Prior to joining The Open University, John was Chief Executive of Colleges Northern Ireland, the membership organisation for Northern Ireland's further education colleges (2003-2010).  He was also a Director of BDO Stoy Hayward Management Consultants from September 1997 to December 2002. Prior to that he was Principal Officer for Research and Statistics at the Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (1990-1997) and he started his career as a Research Fellow with the Northern Ireland Council for Educational Research (1984-1990). John has also been a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Education at Queen’s University Belfast and was a member of the 2001 Education Panel of the Research Assessment Exercise.

John is well known within the creative and cultural sectors in Ireland. He was a member of BBC Northern Ireland’s Broadcasting Council between 2004 and 2007. He was founding Chairman of Oh Yeah Music Centre (2007-2012), an internationally reknowned not-for-profit hub for music and the arts in Belfast. He has been Skills Ambassador for Higher and Further Education with Creative and Cultural Sector Skills Council in Northern Ireland and was founding Chairman of the Arts Council for Northern Ireland’s Audience Development Agency. He has been Vice-Chair and Board member of Sport Northern Ireland from 2007 and has been a Director of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council.  Most recently, John was independent non-executive Chairman of Enterprise Northern Ireland from 2013 until 2016. 

John has been interim Director in The Open University in Wales since May 2017 while a new Director is recruited and appointed. During this time, he has worked on a number of Welsh language-related projects which has brought insights and expertise to the ‘Languages of Ulster’ initiative.

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