Alphabet Angel

This unusual sculpture by Ross Wilson, can be found in Bushmills in County Antrim, and celebrates Ulster-Scots, which is what you hear all around in Northern Ireland. Along the path leading to it is a poem by James Fenton:

Here a stan,
lukkin tae this waitin lan.
Whar yince a hirdin weetchil stud
loast a wee atween dreams an sa,
or dreamin sa,
Streetchin braid afore him,
anither ree,
Anither flock braid gethered,
thranger far.
This lan that cried tha dreamer bak,
for this is hame.

You can see that there are many dialect words and different constructions, and in fact you may find it quite difficult to properly understand – I do!


The sculpture itself, in bronze carries symbolic items:

  • it carries a backpack of hearts and contains  forgotten words, phrases and meanings. it has ‘the redemption of language and the reality of dreams’ which  are carried forward between the two hearts of Ulster-Scots
  • the first heart  represents the land and the soul of the place
  • the second heart  represents the heart of the people and the spirit of the language
  • flying goggles represent the protection of sight and vision ‘through the alphabet journey of dialect.
  • a belt pouch: contains the renewed contemporary currency of an ancient spoken tongue’
  • the thistle icon stands for affinity and shared culture  and traditions of Scotland and Ulster.
  • the capital A is for alpha,
  • and the trumpet calls for Ulster Scots with its unique sound and rhythm,  to be recognized

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