Political map of Ireland
The national flag of the Republic of Ireland, which was created to represent all of Ireland
Ulster Volunteers in Belfast, 1914
Result in Ireland of the December 1910 United Kingdom general election showing a large majority for the Irish Parliamentary Party.
Government Buildings in Dublin
Ulster Volunteers in Belfast, 1914
Ulster Volunteers marching in Belfast, 1914
The green harp flag was first used by Irish Confederate troops in the Eleven Years War, and became the main symbol of Irish nationalism from the 17th to the early 20th century.
Ulster Volunteer Force in 1914
Ulster (coloured), showing Northern Ireland in pink and the Republic of Ireland part in green
Result of the 1918 general election in Ireland showing the dramatic swing in support for Sinn Féin
"Daniel O'Connell: The Champion of Liberty" poster published in Pennsylvania, 1847
A mural in Belfast showing four recipients of the Victoria Cross from the 36th (Ulster) Division, with the UVF logo in the middle
A bronze statue commemorating The Flight of the Earls at Rathmullan in north County Donegal.
Catholic-owned businesses destroyed by loyalists in Lisburn, August 1920
A flowchart illustrating all the political parties that have existed throughout the history of Northern Ireland and leading up to its formation (1889 onwards). Nationalist parties are in green.
A modern Protestant mural in Belfast celebrating Oliver Cromwell and his activities.
Crowds in Belfast for the state opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament on 22 June 1921
Poster for a 1913 anti-Carson meeting, hosted by Protestants of Ballymoney. Speakers included Roger Casement and Robert Glendinning.
Royal Avenue, Belfast. Photochrom print circa 1890–1900.
Members of the Irish negotiation committee returning to Ireland in December 1921
The results of the 1918 Irish general election, in which Sinn Féin and the Irish Parliamentary Party won the majority of votes on the island of Ireland, shown in the color green and light green respectively, with the exception being primarily in the East of the province of Ulster.
North East Boundary Bureau recommendations May 1923
At White Park Bay
James Craig (centre) with members of the first government of Northern Ireland
Countryside west of Ballynahinch
The Boundary Commission's proposed changes to the border
Mourne country cottage
A republican anti-partition march in London, 1980s
The track of the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee (CDRJC) restored next to Lough Finn, near Fintown station.
The approach of autumn, Tardree forest

The Ulster Volunteers were based in the northern province of Ulster.

- Ulster Volunteers

Later that year, Irish nationalists formed a rival militia, the Irish Volunteers, to safeguard Home Rule.

- Ulster Volunteers

The territory that became Northern Ireland, within the Irish province of Ulster, had a Protestant and Unionist majority who wanted to maintain ties to Britain.

- Partition of Ireland

At the time of the partition of Ireland most of the island was Roman Catholic and largely indigenous, while a sizeable portion of the country, particularly in the north, was Protestant and chiefly descended from people from Great Britain who colonised the land as settlers during the reign of King James I in 1609.

- Irish nationalism

However, it also had a significant minority of Catholics and Irish nationalists.

- Partition of Ireland

After the war, the British Government decided to partition Ireland into two self-governing regions: Northern Ireland (which overall had a Protestant/unionist majority) and Southern Ireland.

- Ulster Volunteers

This led to the Home Rule Crisis (1912–14), when Ulster unionists/loyalists founded a paramilitary movement, the Ulster Volunteers, to prevent Ulster being ruled by an Irish government.

- Partition of Ireland

This, and the subsequent Irish War of Independence, led to the partition of Ireland.

- Ulster

Most Irish nationalists object to the use of Ulster in this context.

- Ulster

Home Rule was opposed by Unionists (those who supported the Union with Britain), mostly Protestant and from Ulster under the slogan, "Home Rule is Rome Rule."

- Irish nationalism

In 1912 they formed the Ulster Volunteers, an armed wing of Ulster Unionism who stated that they would resist Home Rule by force.

- Irish nationalism

This movement also set up the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

- Ulster
Political map of Ireland

6 related topics with Alpha

Overall

The traditional counties of Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

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Part of the United Kingdom that is variously described as a country, province, territory or region.

Part of the United Kingdom that is variously described as a country, province, territory or region.

The traditional counties of Northern Ireland
Cannon on the Derry city walls
Scrabo Tower, County Down
Signing of the Ulster Covenant in 1912 in opposition to Home Rule
Result of the 1918 general election in Ireland
Crowds in Belfast for the state opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament on 22 June 1921
The Coat of arms of Northern Ireland used between 1924 and 1973
James Craig (centre) with members of the first government of Northern Ireland
Opening of the Northern Ireland parliament buildings (Stormont) in 1932
Responsibility for Troubles-related deaths between 1969 and 2001
First Minister Ian Paisley (DUP) centre, and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) left, and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond right in 2008
A flowchart illustrating all the political parties that have existed throughout the history of Northern Ireland and leading up to its formation (covering 1889 to 2020).
Parliament Buildings at Stormont, Belfast, seat of the assembly
Unionist mural in Belfast
ESA Sentinel-2 image of Northern Ireland
Köppen climate types of Northern Ireland
Lough Neagh
Hare's Gap, Mourne Mountains
The Giant's Causeway, County Antrim
Marble Arch Caves
Goliath crane of Harland & Wolff in Belfast
An NIR C3K railcar
2011 census: differences in proportions of those who are, or were brought up, either Catholic or Protestant/Other Christians
Map of predominant national identity in the 2011 census
Map of most commonly held passport
Approximate boundaries of the current and historical English/Scots dialects in Ulster. South to north, the colour bands represent Hiberno-English, South-Ulster English, Mid-Ulster English and the three traditional Ulster Scots areas. The Irish-speaking Gaeltacht is not shown.
Percentage of people aged 3+ claiming to have some ability in Irish in the 2011 census
Percentage of people aged 3+ claiming to have some ability in Ulster Scots in the 2011 census
An Orange march
The logo for the Northern Ireland assembly is based on the flower of the flax plant.
People carrying the Irish flag, overlooking those with the unionist Ulster Banner
George Best, Northern Irish international footballer and 1968 Ballon d'Or
Peter Canavan, Tyrone captain 2003
Prominent Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy
Queen's University Belfast
Broadcasting House, Belfast, home of BBC Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, creating a devolved government for the six northeastern counties.

Meanwhile, the majority in Southern Ireland (which became the Irish Free State in 1922), and a significant minority in Northern Ireland, were Irish nationalists and Catholics who wanted a united independent Ireland.

Today, the former generally see themselves as British and the latter generally see themselves as Irish, while a Northern Irish or Ulster identity is claimed by a large minority from all backgrounds.

In 1914, unionists smuggled thousands of rifles and rounds of ammunition from Imperial Germany for use by the Ulster Volunteers (UVF), a paramilitary organisation formed to oppose Home Rule.

Seán Hogan's flying column of the IRA's 3rd Tipperary Brigade during the war

Irish War of Independence

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Guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army (IRA, the army of the Irish Republic) and British forces: the British Army, along with the quasi-military Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and its paramilitary forces the Auxiliaries and Ulster Special Constabulary (USC).

Guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army (IRA, the army of the Irish Republic) and British forces: the British Army, along with the quasi-military Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and its paramilitary forces the Auxiliaries and Ulster Special Constabulary (USC).

Seán Hogan's flying column of the IRA's 3rd Tipperary Brigade during the war
Result of the 1918 UK general election in Ireland
RIC and British Army personnel near Limerick, c.1920
West Connemara IRA flying column
Police wanted poster for Dan Breen, one of those involved in the Soloheadbeg Ambush in 1919.
Wall plaque in Great Denmark Street, Dublin where the Dublin IRA Active Service Unit was founded.
A group of RIC officers in 1917
Michael Collins
A group of "Black and Tans" and Auxiliaries in Dublin, April 1921
British soldiers and relatives of the victims outside Jervis Street Hospital during the military enquiry into the Bloody Sunday shootings at Croke Park
Aftermath of the burning of Cork by British forces
A crowd gathers at the Mansion House in Dublin in the days before the truce
Members of the Irish negotiation committee returning to Ireland in December 1921
The funeral of Michael Collins
St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, August 1922
Catholic-owned businesses destroyed by loyalists in Lisburn, August 1920.
Unionist leader James Craig.
The Lord Lieutenant inspecting troops outside Belfast City Hall on the day Northern Ireland's parliament first met.
A mural in Belfast depicting revenge killings by police in Belfast.
Irish republican internees at Ballykinlar Internment Camp 1920
The symbol of the Republic:
The Irish tricolour which dated back to the Young Ireland rebellion of 1848.
A symbol of British rule:
The standard of the Lord Lieutenant, using the union flag created under the Act of Union 1800.
Monument to IRA fighters in Phibsborough, Dublin
Soldiers of a British cavalry regiment leaving Dublin in 1922
Constance Markievicz was a member of the Irish Citizen Army and fought in the Easter Rising. In 1919 she was appointed Minister for Labour in the Government of the Irish Republic
Conflict deaths in Belfast 1920–1922.
50–100 deaths per km2
100–150 deaths per km2
over 150 deaths per km2

The conflict in north-east Ulster had a sectarian aspect (see Belfast Pogrom of 1920 and Bloody Sunday (1921)).

In May 1921, Ireland was partitioned under British law by the Government of Ireland Act, which created Northern Ireland.

Since the 1870s, Irish nationalists in the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) had been demanding Home Rule, or self-government, from Britain.

The demand for Home Rule was eventually granted by the British Government in 1912, immediately prompting a prolonged crisis within the United Kingdom as Ulster unionists formed an armed organisation – the Ulster Volunteers (UVF) – to resist this measure of devolution, at least in territory they could control.

Irish World War I propaganda recruitment poster, c. 1915,
by Hely's Limited, Dublin.

Ireland and World War I

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Part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which entered the war in August 1914 as one of the Entente Powers, along with France and Russia.

Part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which entered the war in August 1914 as one of the Entente Powers, along with France and Russia.

Irish World War I propaganda recruitment poster, c. 1915,
by Hely's Limited, Dublin.
John Dillon addresses an anti-conscription rally, 1918.
The Derry Guildhall stained-glass window which commemorates the Three Irish Divisions, left the 36th, right the 10th and 16th.

At the outbreak of the war, most Irish people, regardless of political affiliation, supported the war in much the same way as their British counterparts, and both nationalist and unionist leaders initially backed the British war effort.

During the War of Independence, the British government partitioned Ireland.

Moreover, it was resisted fiercely by Unionists, concentrated in Ulster.

In 1913, they had formed an armed militia, the Ulster Volunteers, to resist the implementation of Home Rule or to exclude Ulster itself from the settlement.

Hazards of separation from Great Britain. Unionist postcard (1912)

Unionism in Ireland

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Political tradition on the island of Ireland that favours political union with Great Britain and professes loyalty to the British Crown and constitution.

Political tradition on the island of Ireland that favours political union with Great Britain and professes loyalty to the British Crown and constitution.

Hazards of separation from Great Britain. Unionist postcard (1912)
Detail of the Battle of Ballynahinch 1798 by Thomas Robinson. Government Yeomanry prepare to hang United Irish insurgent Hugh McCulloch, a grocer.
1899 penny print of Henry Cooke's 1841 speech in "reply to Daniel O'Connell"
William Gladstone writing legislation under pressure from the Land League. Caricature 1881.
God Save the Queen, Erin Go Bragh, Ulster Unionist Convention, Belfast, 1892
Flag of the Congested Districts Board for Ireland, 1893–1907
Unionist march in Belfast, 9 April 1912
Signing the Ulster Covenant Declaration, "Ulster Day” 1912
An Orange Order banner showing Carson the signing of the Ulster Covenant 1912
The 1918 general election result in Ireland. Sinn Féin sweeps the south and west
The Coat of Arms of the Government of Northern Ireland used between 1924 and 1973
The statue of Lord Edward Carson in front of Parliament Buildings, Stormont
Anti-Faulkner Unionist election poster
Mural for the Red Hand Commando (UVF) which, uniquely, had an Irish-language motto, Lamh Dearg Abu (Victory to the Red Hand)
Campaign against the Anglo-Irish Agreement
Detail from 2015 Sinn Féin election flyer, North Belfast
The cross of St. Patrick superimposed on the Scottish Saltire with a six-county star, Red Hand of Ulster and no crown: the "Ulster national flag" variously employed by Loyalist groups to represent an independent, or distinctly Ulster-Scot, Northern-Ireland identity.
A flowchart illustrating all the political parties that have existed throughout the history of Northern Ireland and leading up to its formation (1889 onwards). Unionist parties are in orange.

As the overwhelming sentiment of Ireland's Protestant minority, following Catholic Emancipation (1829) unionism mobilised to keep Ireland part of the United Kingdom and to defeat the efforts of Irish nationalists to restore a separate Irish parliament.

Since Partition (1921), as Ulster Unionism its goal has been to maintain Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom and to resist a transfer of sovereignty to an all-Ireland republic.

Joined by loyalist labour, on the eve of World War I this broad opposition to Irish self-government concentrated in Belfast and its hinterlands as Ulster Unionism, and prepared an armed resistance—the Ulster Volunteers.

In Ulster where, because of their greater numbers, Protestants were less fearful of sharing political rights with Catholics, combinations of Presbyterian tradesmen, merchants, and tenant farmers protested against an unrepresentative parliament and against an executive in Dublin Castle still appointed, through the office of the Lord Lieutenant, by English ministers.

Election campaigning on a busy Irish street, 1918

1918 Irish general election

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The part of the 1918 United Kingdom general election which took place in Ireland.

The part of the 1918 United Kingdom general election which took place in Ireland.

Election campaigning on a busy Irish street, 1918
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Constance Markievicz was the first woman ever to be elected to the British House of Commons. She did not take her seat, instead joining the First Dáil. In 1919 she was appointed Minister for Labour, the first female minister in a democratic government cabinet.

It is now seen as a key moment in modern Irish history because it saw the overwhelming defeat of the moderate nationalist Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP), which had dominated the Irish political landscape since the 1880s, and a landslide victory for the radical Sinn Féin party.

In Ulster, however, the Unionist Party was the most successful party.

This was due to the failure to have the Home Rule Bill implemented when the IPP resisted the partition of Ireland demanded by Ulster Unionists in 1914, 1916 and 1917, but also popular antagonism towards the British authorities created by the execution of most of the leaders of the 1916 rebels and by their botched attempt to introduce Home Rule on the conclusion of the Irish Convention linked with military conscription in Ireland (see Conscription Crisis of 1918).

Unionist fear of Home Rule, or worse, separation, solidified after the Rising, and the Unionist vote was enhanced in Ulster by the increased electorate. It was the first election since the Ulster Covenant, the formation of the Ulster Volunteers (UVF), and the Battle of the Somme.

General Fergusson c.1926

Curragh incident

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The Curragh incident of 20 March 1914, sometimes known as the Curragh mutiny, occurred in the Curragh, County Kildare, Ireland.

The Curragh incident of 20 March 1914, sometimes known as the Curragh mutiny, occurred in the Curragh, County Kildare, Ireland.

General Fergusson c.1926
Field Marshal John French
General Gough c.1900
Sir Arthur Paget, GOC Irish Command in March 1914
General Henry Wilson

Ireland was scheduled to receive a measure of devolved government, which included Ulster, later in the year.

With Irish Home Rule due to become law in 1914, the British Cabinet contemplated some kind of military action against the unionist Ulster Volunteers who threatened to rebel against it.

The Home Rule Bill was passed but postponed, and the growing fear of civil war in Ireland led to the British government considering some form of partition of Ireland instead, which eventually took place.

The politicians later claimed that at the meeting when Paget arrived in London, they merely gave verbal amplification to orders which he had already received from the War Office, but Asquith later admitted that this was untrue; at the meeting Paget was also told to send troops to Newry (an old, empty barracks with no stores) and Dundalk, both in Irish nationalist areas and so unlikely to be seized by the UVF, but of strategic importance in any move to bring Ulster under military control.