An enthusiastic and passionate local historian and author, my main business interests are Ulster-Scots consultancy; tourism (developing and delivering bespoke history walks and tours); and presentation of a range of talks, lectures and workshops (list available on request). I also research and write commissioned articles and books; organise cultural events and programmes; and design and deliver classes on Ulster-Scots or local history themes for both adults and younger groups.
I provide a media consultancy service for independent TV companies, usually those applying for funding via the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund. I have advised and contributed to a number of local productions including: Minding Our Language; WG Lyttle & Me; NVTV ‘In Focus’; The Gaitherin; Shaping The Coast; Languages of Ulster; Afeard.
A Chronicle of Comber was published to mark the centenary commemorations for RMS Titanic; and a second book Remembering Rollo marked a bi-centenary event in 2014. Two more publications are currently in development.
I create and deliver bespoke tours across Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Themes have included local history, literature and poetry, the 1798 Rebellion, food and drink, Ulster-Scots, castles, Robert Burns and the Border Reivers. Visit my Hidden Ulster Tours page to find out more.
I develop and deliver bespoke courses for community groups and organisations, including local history, research, arts and crafts, public speaking, tour development and presentation skills.
I give talks on a range of subjects - either with groups, or via Zoom, or even pre-recorded. Topics include folklore, Robert Burns, local history, Ulster-Scots poetry and literature. You can hear an example of a talk I gave for Ulster-Scots Language week by clicking on this image
I conduct detailed research on topics ranging from local poetry and literature to folklore, history and heritage; and deliver reports or presentations according to the brief. I am also an experienced editor and proof-reader.
Ulster-Scots Consultancy Services
Advice and research for media companies on the content of Ulster-Scots themed or USBF-funded programmes. Recent examples include The Gaitherin (Tern TV), Minding our Language (Hole in the Wall Gang), Languages of Ulster (Below the Radar), Shaping the Coast (Paper Owl Productions) and Button Cap (NotasSuch Films).
Bespoke Course Design and Delivery
Development and delivery of locally-focused courses for community groups and /or the public.
Recent examples include a 10-week Introduction to Local History and Culture course; a 4-week Local History and Literature class; Level 1 and 2 Introduction to Ulster-Scots courses; and a 4-week History through Arts & Crafts programme for children.
Historical Walks and Bus Tours
Talks, Lectures and Workshops
Development and delivery of bus and walking tours for groups of varying sizes. Recent tours have included a Titanic Walking Tour, a number of bus tours around the Ards Peninsula, and a trip to Scotland, ‘In Search of Robbie Burns’. Also, for Stranmillis University College, I have co-led bus trips to the Glens of Antrim and the Fermanagh Lakes and a themed 1798 Tour.
Delivery of talks and workshops on a range of subjects (a full list is available on request). Recent audiences have included Probus, Rotary, local Historical Societies, Women’s Institutes, U3A / retirement groups, community organisations such as libraries; and academic conferences - eg the Drew University Transatlantic Conference in Donegal and various symposia for Ulster University.
Project Management and Administration
Management and delivery of bespoke projects for local cultural organisations. Recent examples include: project management for the Ulster-Scots Language Society including production of two books and an online language resource; design and delivery of a series of events for the Ulster-Scots Community Network; and a dissemination / marketing project for the MAG Ulster-Scots Academy.
Research and Authoring
Professional research, writing, editing and proof-reading services, including management of design, print and publishing. Recent work includes two Activities and Achievements Reports (for MAGUS); contribution of academic pieces to Études Irlandaises and Gael Linn’s ‘Aspects of a Shared Heritage’; and a publication on the Ulster-Scots Heritage of the Kingdom of Mourne.
"… Thanks again for delivering the ‘Introduction to Ulster-Scots’ session. The evaluations all gave very positive feedback – finding it very informative and interesting – and you pitched it perfectly for your audience…"
Clare Cuthbert / Community Change NI
"Laura has worked with people from across the Ulster-Scots world, from academics to native speakers, and has built up an unparalleled knowledge of all aspects of Ulster-Scots history, culture, language and literature… Her creativity and ability to make everyone feel included have produced several exciting projects that have really helped preserve our unique cultural tapestry."
Dr Jennifer Orr / Lecturer / Newcastle University
".... a resounding success. You dealt efficiently with every aspect of the launch including booking the keynote speaker, compiling a politically sensitive guest-list, and facilitating complex technical requirements in addition to arranging merchandise, catering and the event schedule.... First-rate event management...."
Patrick Speight /Senior Producer /BBC Northern Ireland
"I would recommend Laura very highly as a public speaker. She has spoken at a number of events and conferences that I have organised and she has always been a lively, informed and engaging communicator able to talk to a variety of audiences and age groups."
Dr. Frank Ferguson / Ulster University
“... Many thanks for a truly exhilarating day yesterday… We all appreciated the considerable prep work you had to do, to make the visits possible… What a great experience we had!...”
Martin Nelson / Member of Stranmillis Lifelong Learners Tour Group
"Laura is a highly knowledgeable, hard-working expert in Ulster-Scots language, literature and history, which she combines with extensive experience of writing, lecturing, editorial work and radio broadcasting. I commissioned her to undertake a range of project work, all of which she completed to a high standard and on time..."
Dr Bill Smith / Chair / Ministerial Advisory Group on the Ulster-Scots Academy
I am a qualified, professional
Blue Badge Tourist Guide - and accompany individuals, family groups and large excursions on tours across the island of Ireland.
I create bespoke tours on subjects such as Ulster-Scots, literature, the story of linen, the 1798 Rebellion; or I guide walking and coach tours around all parts of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I also lead occasional tour groups to Scotland exploring the land of Robert Burns, or the Border Reivers.
Whether you are a visitor or a local, I can work with you to create the perfect tour - be it a few hours, a couple of days or even a couple of weeks, offering advice on accommodation, routes, destinations and hidden gems.
Visit the Hidden Ulster Tours website to find out more.