Irish nationalism and Ulster
•A significant proportion of the Irish
people already opposed nationalistic
•Most of this opposition was towards
the idea of Home Rule.
•Official of the Orange Order: “if Home
Rule became law there would be a
First Home Rule Bill
•When the first bill
failed, protestants and Catholics
engaged in sectarian violence in
the city of Belfast.
•The army was sent in, but did not
prevent 32 deaths and hundreds
Why did ulster resist
•Ulster was somewhat isolated from
the other territories by a belt.
•This caused a distinction between the
Ulster north and the rest of Ireland.
•Alongside this, Ulster's location, near
Scotland, caused the forming of more
• Ulster, since the 17th century, had been the most
• Its agriculture was more varied and efficient, and
tenant farmers had better conditions and higher
• Ulster also developed an important industrial
base. Featuring ship building and textiles.
• Belfast became a part of the northern English
Economics of Home Rule
• The Ulster economy relived more heavily
on Britain than the rest of Ireland.
• If Home Rule passed, the new Irish
parliament would focus on the rural
aspects of Ireland and impose tariffs on
• This would make ulster manufactured
goods more expensive and restrict British
Religious make up of Ireland
•In the south of Ireland, only one in
every twenty persons was protestant.
•In the nine counties that make up
Ulster, an average of twelve out of
twenty were protestant.
•Throughout Ireland as a whole
Catholics outnumbered protestants
by nine to one.
Religion and Home Rule
• When the Church of Ireland (protestant)
was disestablished in 1868, a protestant
• “We will fight as men alone can fight who
have the bible in one hand and a sword in
the other … and this will be our dying
cry, echoed from one end of Ulster to the
other: No Papacy, no Surrender.”
Religion and Home Rule
•If an Irish parliament was
established, the protestants feared
they would be at the mercy of the
•There was the belief that the catholic
majority would legislate to destroy
the Protestant way of life.
•“Home Rule means Rome Rule.”
Ulster religious change
• In 1780s, Belfast had a reputation for
• Protestants gave money to help build
Belfasts first catholic church.
• But in the next hundred years, the catholic
percentage grew from 5% to a third.
• Sectarian violence was becoming
commonplace. Supported by the double
A changing Ulster
• Because of the changes in the land laws
which gave tenant farmers more power
and the ability to buy land, a high paying
catholic wave moved into the Ulster
• Due to its prosperity, Belfast's population
doubled between 1871 and 1911.
• There was a growing belief was that
catholic employment would affect
• The Protestant monopolised the higher
paying jobs, leaving the catholics to take
lower wage work.
• The city was also spilt along residential
areas, the Catholics in Falls road and the
protestants in Shankill road.
• Employers took advantage of an
disagreeing working class to manipulate
wages and conditions.
Ulster as a symbol
• Many catholic Irish saw Ulster as the
representation of British interference.
Lead by a protestant ascendency who took
what was rightfully catholic.
• The ulster populace saw themselves as a
garrison of economic prosperity and
keeper of the true religion, surround by
Catholics constantly on the verge of
The Ulster Resistance
• Two major groups: the Unionists and the
Order of Orange.
• The Irish loyal and political Union party
opposed Home Rule, supported the act of
Union and elected parliament members
who supported this.
• The British conservative party supported
this group due to political advantage.
Randolph Churchill stated “Ulster will fight
and Ulster will be right.”
Ulster and the Conservatives
• Both parties believed the protestants would
suffer under a catholic government and Home
Rule is a betrayal of the act of Union.
• Home Rule was seen as the first step towards a
completely independent Ireland. This could
cause a chain reaction in other parts of the
• Although the first two bills had failed, by 1912
the barriers had be weakened and home rule
looked closer than ever and unionist fears grew.