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Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label= Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

provinces
, in the north of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
. It is made up of nine
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...

counties
: six of these constitute
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
(a part of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
); the remaining three are in the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
. It is the second-largest (after
Munster Munster ( gle, an Mhumhain or ) is one of the provinces of Ireland Since pre-historic times, there have been four Provinces of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.ht ...

Munster
) and second-most populous (after
Leinster Leinster ( ; ga, Laighin or ) is one of the provinces of Ireland A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', which ...

Leinster
) of Ireland's four provinces, with
Belfast Belfast ( ; , ) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a popul ...

Belfast
being its biggest city. Unlike the other provinces, Ulster has a high percentage of
Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. ...
, making up almost half of its population. English is the main language and
Ulster English Ulster English ( sco, label= Ulster Scots, Ulstèr Inglis, ga, Béarla Ulaidh, also called Northern Hiberno-English Hiberno-English (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...
the main dialect. A minority also speak Irish, and there are
Gaeltacht ( , ; plural ) is an Irish-language word for any primarily Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the term ''Gaeltacht'' refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language i ...

Gaeltacht
aí (Irish-speaking regions) in southern
County Londonderry County Londonderry (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ''Coontie Lunnonderrie''), also known as County Derry ( ga, Contae Dhoire), is one of the six Counties of Northern Ireland, counties of Northern Ireland, one of the thirty two Counties ...

County Londonderry
, the Gaeltacht Quarter, Belfast, and in
County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William ...
; collectively, these three regions are home to a quarter of the total Gaeltacht population of Ireland.
Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ''Ulstèr-Scotch'', ga, Albanaigh na hUladh), also called Ulster Scots ...
is also spoken.
Lough Neagh Lough Neagh ( ) is a large freshwater lake in Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ') is #Descriptions, variously described as a country, province, or region which is Countrie ...
, in the east, is the largest lake in the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
, while
Lough Erne Lough Erne ( , ) is the name of two connected lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ...

Lough Erne
in the west is one of its largest lake networks. The main mountain ranges are the
Mournes
Mournes
,
Sperrins The Sperrins or Sperrin Mountains () are a range of mountains in Northern Ireland and one of the largest Upland (geology), upland areas in Northern Ireland. The range stretches from Strabane eastwards to Slieve Gallion in Desertmartin and north ...
, Croaghgorms and
Derryveagh Mountains , photo=gleannbheatha.jpg , photo_caption= Loch Ghleann Bheatha in the grounds of the castle at Gleann Bheatha , country=Republic of Ireland , region = Ulster , region_type = Provinces of Ireland , parent= , border= , length_km=, length_ ...
. Historically, Ulster lay at the heart of the
Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Whe ...

Gaelic
world made up of
Gaelic Ireland Gaelic Ireland ( ga, Éire Ghaelach) was the Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages ...
,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
and the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth The "National Anthem of the Isle of Man" ( gv, Arrane Ashoonagh Vannin) was written and composed by William Henry Gill (1839–1923), with the Manx translation by John J. Kneen (1873–1939). It is often r ...

Isle of Man
. According to tradition, in
ancient Ireland The prehistory of Ireland has been pieced together from Archaeology, archaeological evidence, which has grown at an increasing rate over the last decades. It begins with the first evidence of permanent human residence in Ireland around 10,500 BC ...
it was one of the
fifths
fifths
( ga, cúige) ruled by a '' rí ruirech'', or "king of over-kings". It is named after the overkingdom of
Ulaid Ulaid (Old Irish, ) or Ulaidh (Irish language, Modern Irish, ) was a Gaelic Ireland, Gaelic Provinces of Ireland, over-kingdom in north-eastern Ireland during the Middle Ages made up of a confederation of dynastic groups. Alternative names includ ...
, in the east of the province, which was in turn named after the Ulaid folk. The other overkingdoms in Ulster were
Airgíalla Airgíalla (Irish language, Modern Irish: Oirialla, English: Oriel, Latin: ''Ergallia'') was a medieval Irish Provinces of Ireland, over-kingdom and the collective name for the confederation of tribes that formed it. The confederation consisted of ...
and Ailech. After the
Norman invasion of Ireland The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland took place during the late 12th century, when Anglo-Normans gradually conquered and acquired large swathes of land from the Irish, which the Kingdom of England then claimed sovereignty over. At the time, Gael ...
in the 12th century, eastern Ulster was conquered by the
Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a ...
and became the
Earldom of Ulster The Earldom of Ulster was an Anglo-Normans, Anglo-Norman lordship in northern medieval Ireland, established by John de Courcy from the conquest of the province of Ulaid in eastern Ulster. It was the most important Anglo-Norman lordship in the nor ...
. By the late 14th century the Earldom had collapsed and the
O'Neill dynasty The O'Neill dynasty (Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United ...
had come to dominate most of Ulster, claiming the title King of Ulster. Ulster became the most thoroughly Gaelic and independent of Ireland's provinces. Its rulers resisted English encroachment but were defeated in the
Nine Years' War The Nine Years' War (1688–1697), often called the War of the Grand Alliance or the War of the League of Augsburg, was a conflict between France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a ...
(1594–1603). King
James I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and En ...

James I
then colonised Ulster with English-speaking Protestant settlers from Great Britain, in the
Plantation of Ulster The Plantation of Ulster ( gle, Plandáil Uladh; Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ''Ul ...

Plantation of Ulster
. This led to the founding of many of Ulster's towns. The inflow of Protestant settlers and migrants also led to bouts of
sectarian Sectarianism is a form of prejudice Prejudice can be an affective feeling towards a person based on their perceived group membership. The word is often used to refer to a preconceived (usually unfavourable) evaluation or classification of a ...
violence with Catholics, notably during the
1641 rebellion The Irish Rebellion of 1641 ( ga, Éirí Amach 1641) was an uprising by Irish Catholic Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ...
and the
Armagh disturbances The Armagh disturbances was a period of intense sectarian fighting in the 1780s and 1790s between the Ulster Protestant Peep o' Day Boys and the Roman Catholic Defenders (Ireland), Defenders, in County Armagh, Kingdom of Ireland, culminating in th ...
. Along with the rest of Ireland, Ulster became part of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
in 1801. In the early 20th century, moves towards Irish self-rule were opposed by many
Ulster Protestants Ulster Protestants ( ga, Agóideoirí Uladh) are an ethnoreligious group in the Provinces of Ireland, Irish province of Ulster, where they make up about 43% of the population. Many Ulster Protestantism in Ireland, Protestants are descendants of ...
, sparking the
Home Rule Crisis The Home Rule Crisis was a political and military crisis in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state that existed between 1801 and 1922. It was established by the ...
. This, and the subsequent
Irish War of Independence The Irish War of Independence ( ga, Cogadh na Saoirse) or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary or ...
, led to the
partition of Ireland The partition of Ireland ( ga, críochdheighilt na hÉireann) was the process by which the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state that existed be ...
. Six Ulster counties became Northern Ireland, a self-governing territory within the United Kingdom, while the rest of Ireland became the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
, now the Republic of Ireland. The term ''Ulster'' has no official function for local government purposes in either state. However, for the purposes of
ISO 3166-2 ISO 3166-2 is part of the ISO 3166 ISO 3166 is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...
, ''Ulster'' is used to refer to the three counties of Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan only, which are given country sub-division code "IE-U". The name is also used by various organisations such as cultural and sporting bodies.


Terminology

Ulster's name ultimately derives from the
Ulaid Ulaid (Old Irish, ) or Ulaidh (Irish language, Modern Irish, ) was a Gaelic Ireland, Gaelic Provinces of Ireland, over-kingdom in north-eastern Ireland during the Middle Ages made up of a confederation of dynastic groups. Alternative names includ ...
h, a group of tribes that once dwelt in this part of Ireland. The Norsemen knew the province as ''Ulaztir'', the '' tír'' or land (a word borrowed from Irish) of the Ulaidh; this was then taken into English as ''Ullister'' or ''Ulvester'', and later contracted to ''Ulster''. Another, less probable explanation is that the suffix -''ster'' represents the Old Norse element '' staðr'' ("place"), found in names like
Lybster Lybster (, gd, Liabost) is a village on the east coast of Caithness Caithness ( gd, Gallaibh , sco, Caitnes; non, Katanes) is a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area of Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Al ...
and
Scrabster Scrabster ( sco, Scraibster, gd, Sgrabastair/Sgrabstal) is a small settlement on Thurso Bay in Caithness on the north coast of Scotland. It is some from Thurso, from Wick, Highland, Wick, from Inverness and 271.7 miles (437.2 km) from ...

Scrabster
in Scotland. Ulster is still known as ''Cúige Uladh'' in Irish, meaning the province (literally "fifth") of the Ulaidh. ''Ulaidh'' has historically been anglicised as ''Ulagh'' or ''Ullagh'' and Latinised as ''Ulidia'' or ''Ultonia''. The latter two have yielded the terms ''Ulidian'' and ''Ultonian''. The Irish word for someone or something from Ulster is ''Ultach'', and this can be found in the surnames MacNulty, MacAnulty, and Nulty, which all derive from ''Mac an Ultaigh'', meaning "son of the Ulsterman".Robert Bell; ''The book of Ulster Surnames'', page 180. The Blackstaff Press, 2003.
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
is often referred to as ''Ulster'', despite including only six of Ulster's nine counties. This usage is most common among people in Northern Ireland who are unionist, although it is also used by the media throughout the United Kingdom. Most Irish nationalists object to the use of Ulster in this context.


Geography and political sub-divisions

Ulster has a population of just over 2 million people and an area of . About 62% of the area of Ulster is in the UK while the remaining 38% is in the Republic of Ireland. Ulster's biggest city,
Belfast Belfast ( ; , ) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a popul ...

Belfast
, has an urban population of over half a million inhabitants, making it the second-largest city on the island of Ireland and the 10th largest urban area in the UK. Six of Ulster's nine
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...

counties
, Antrim,
Armagh Armagh ( ; ga, Ard Mhacha, , "Macha Macha () was a sovereignty goddess Sovereignty goddess is a scholarly term, almost exclusively used in Celtic studies (although parallels for the idea have been claimed in other traditions, usually unde ...

Armagh
,
Down Down most often refers to: * Down, the relative direction opposed to up * Down (gridiron football), in American/Canadian football, a period when one play takes place * Down feather, a soft bird feather used in bedding and clothing * Downland, a typ ...

Down
,
Fermanagh Fermanagh ( ga, Fir Manach) was a kingdom of Gaelic Ireland Gaelic Ireland ( ga, Éire Ghaelach) was the Gaelic political and social order, and associated culture, that existed in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Uls ...

Fermanagh
, and , including the former parliamentary boroughs of
Belfast Belfast ( ; , ) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a popul ...

Belfast
and Londonderry, form
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
which remained part of the United Kingdom after the
partition of Ireland The partition of Ireland ( ga, críochdheighilt na hÉireann) was the process by which the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state that existed be ...
in 1921. Three Ulster counties –
Cavan Cavan ( ; ) is the county town of County Cavan in Ireland. The town lies in Ulster, near the border with County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. The town is on the main N3 road (Ireland), N3 road that links Dublin (to the south) with Enniskillen, ...
,
DonegalDonegal may refer to: County Donegal, Ireland * County Donegal, a county in the Republic of Ireland, part of the province of Ulster * Donegal Bay, an inlet in the northwest of Ireland bordering counties Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo * Donegal (town), ...
and
Monaghan Monaghan ( ; ) is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a syno ...
– form part of the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
. About half of Ulster's population lives in counties Antrim and Down. Across the nine counties, according to the aggregate UK
2011 Census2011 censuses were conducted in the following countries: * Australia: Census in Australia * Austria: Demographics of Austria * Bangladesh: 2011 Bangladesh Census * Bulgaria: Demographics of Bulgaria * Canada: Canada 2011 Census * Croatia: 2011 Censu ...
for Northern Ireland, and the ROI 2011 Census for counties Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan, there is a
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
majority over
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
of 50.8% to 42.7%. While the traditional counties continue to demarcate areas of
local government in the Republic of Ireland Local government in the Republic of Irelands functions are mostly exercised by thirty-one local authorities, termed County, City, or City and County Councils. The principal decision-making body in each of the thirty-one local authorities is comp ...
, this is no longer the case in Northern Ireland. Since 1974, the traditional counties have a
ceremonial A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious ...
role only.
Local government in Northern Ireland Northern Ireland is divided into 11 districts for local government purposes. In , local councils do not carry out the same range of functions as those in the rest of the ; for example they have no responsibility for education, road-building or ...
is today demarcated by 11 districts.


County-based sub-divisions

Counties shaded in grey are in the Republic of Ireland. Counties shaded in pink are in Northern Ireland.


Council-based sub-divisions


Largest settlements

Settlements in Ulster with at least 14,000 inhabitants, listed in order of population: #
Belfast Belfast ( ; , ) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a popul ...

Belfast
(480,000) #
Derry Derry, officially Londonderry (), is the second-largest City status in the United Kingdom, city in Northern Ireland and the fifth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name ''Daire'' (mod ...

Derry
(105,000) #
Lisburn Lisburn (; "Lisburn/Lios na gCearrbhach"
.

Lisburn
(75,000) # Craigavon (65,000) # Bangor (58,400) #
Ballymena Ballymena (, ) is a town in County Antrim County Antrim (named after the town of Antrim, County Antrim, Antrim, ) is one of six Counties of Northern Ireland, counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough N ...
(28,700) #
Newtownards Newtownards is a town in County Down County Down is one of the six . It covers an area of and has a population of 531,665. It borders to the north, the to the east, to the west, and across to the southwest. In the east of the coun ...

Newtownards
(27,800) #
Newry Newry (; ) is a City status in Ireland, city in Northern Ireland, divided by the Newry River, Clanrye river in counties County Armagh, Armagh and County Down, Down, from Belfast and from Dublin. It had a population of 26,967 in 2011. Newry w ...
(27,400) #
Carrickfergus Carrickfergus ( , meaning " Fergus' rock") is a large town in County Antrim County Antrim (named after the town of Antrim, County Antrim, Antrim, ) is one of six Counties of Northern Ireland, counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined t ...

Carrickfergus
(27,200) #
Coleraine Coleraine ( ; from ga, Cúil Rathain , 'nook of the fern A fern (Polypodiopsida or Polypodiophyta ) is a member of a group of vascular plants (plants with xylem and phloem) that reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. T ...
(25,000) # Antrim (20,000) #
Omagh Omagh (; from ga, An Ómaigh , meaning 'the virgin plain') is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The ...
(19,800) #
Letterkenny Letterkenny ( ), nicknamed "the Cathedral Town", is the largest and most populous town in County Donegal, Ireland. It lies on the River Swilly in East Donegal and has a population of 19,274. It is the List of settlements on the island of Ireland ...
(19,600) #
Larne Larne (, the name of a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, S ...
(18,200) #
Banbridge Banbridge ( ) is a town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies on the River Bann and the A1 road (Northern Ireland), A1 road and is named after a bridge built over the River Bann in 1712. It is situated in the Civil parishes in Ireland, civi ...

Banbridge
(14,700) #
Armagh Armagh ( ; ga, Ard Mhacha, , "Macha Macha () was a sovereignty goddess Sovereignty goddess is a scholarly term, almost exclusively used in Celtic studies (although parallels for the idea have been claimed in other traditions, usually unde ...

Armagh
(14,500)


Economy

The GDP of the province of Ulster is around €50 billion. Salary levels are the lowest on the island of Ireland.


Physical geography

The biggest lake in the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
,
Lough Neagh Lough Neagh ( ) is a large freshwater lake in Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ') is #Descriptions, variously described as a country, province, or region which is Countrie ...
, lies in eastern Ulster. The province's highest point,
Slieve Donard Slieve Donard ( ; ) is the highest mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and i ...

Slieve Donard
(), stands in County Down. The most northerly point in Ireland,
Malin Head Malin Head ( ga, Cionn Mhálanna) is the most northerly point of mainland Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_ ...
, is in County Donegal, as are the sixth-highest () sea
cliffs In geography and geology, a cliff is an area of rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included ...

cliffs
in Europe, at
Slieve League Sliabh Liag, sometimes Slieve League or Slieve Liag ( ga, Sliabh Liag), is a mountain on the Atlantic coast of County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country use ...

Slieve League
, and the province's largest island,
Arranmore ''Árainn Mhór'' (English name: Arranmore) is an island off the west coast of County Donegal, Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separate ...

Arranmore
. The most easterly point in Ireland is also in Ulster, in
County Down County Down is one of the six . It covers an area of and has a population of 531,665. It borders to the north, the to the east, to the west, and across to the southwest. In the east of the county is and the . The largest town is , on th ...

County Down
, and the most westerly point in the UK is in
County Fermanagh County Fermanagh ( ; ) is one of the thirty-two counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in c ...

County Fermanagh
. The longest river in the British Isles, the Shannon, rises at the
Shannon Pot Shannon Pot or Legnashinna () is a pool in the karst landscape in the townland of Derrylahan near Cuilcagh Mountain in County Cavan, Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlanti ...

Shannon Pot
in County Cavan with underground tributaries from County Fermanagh.
Volcanic activity A volcano is a rupture in the Crust (geology), crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and Volcanic gas, gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. On Earth, volcanoes are most often fo ...

Volcanic activity
in eastern Ulster led to the formation of the
Antrim Plateau County Antrim (named after the town of Antrim, , ) is one of six counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Lt ...
and the
Giant's Causeway The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, a ...

Giant's Causeway
, one of Ireland's three
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
s. Ulster also has a significant
drumlin A drumlin, from the Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kin ...
belt. The geographical centre of Ulster lies between the villages of
Pomeroy Pomeroy may refer to: Places United Kingdom * Pomeroy, County Tyrone, a village, civil parish and town land in Northern Ireland * Pomeroy, Derbyshire, List of places in Derbyshire, a place in Derbyshire, England * Berry Pomeroy, a village and ...
and
Carrickmore Carrickmore () is a village in County Tyrone County Tyrone (; ) is one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It ...
in County Tyrone. In terms of area, County Donegal is the largest county in all of Ulster. File:House through the Arch.jpg, At White Park Bay File:Countryside west of Ballynahinch - geograph.org.uk - 466768.jpg, Countryside west of Ballynahinch File:Mourne country cottage. - geograph.org.uk - 495183.jpg, Mourne country cottage File:Fintown Railway on trackbed of CDR County Donegal Railway, Lough Finn (5951398952).jpg, The track of the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee (CDRJC) restored next to
Lough Finn Lough Finn () is a freshwater Fresh water or freshwater is any naturally occurring liquid or frozen water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of wate ...

Lough Finn
, near Fintown station. File:The approach of autumn, Tardree forest - geograph.org.uk - 943055.jpg, The approach of autumn, Tardree forest


Transport


Air

The province's main airport is
Belfast International Airport Belfast International Airport is an airport northwest of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Formerly known as ''Aldergrove Airport'', after the nearby village of Aldergrove, County Antrim, Aldergrove. In 2018, over 6.2 million passengers travelled ...
(popularly called Aldergrove Airport), which is located at Aldergrove, 11.5 miles northwest of Belfast near Antrim.
George Best Belfast City Airport George Best Belfast City Airport is a single-runway airport An airport is an aerodrome with extended facilities, mostly for commercial air transport. Airports often have facilities to park and maintain aircraft, and a control tower. A ...
(sometimes referred to as "the City Airport" or "the Harbour Airport") is another, smaller airport which is located at Sydenham in Belfast. The
City of Derry Airport City of Derry Airport , previously known as RAF Eglinton and Londonderry Eglinton Airport, is a regional airport located northeast of Derry, Northern Ireland. It is located on the south bank of Lough Foyle, a short distance from the village of ...

City of Derry Airport
is located at Eglinton, east of the city of
Derry Derry, officially Londonderry (), is the second-largest City status in the United Kingdom, city in Northern Ireland and the fifth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name ''Daire'' (mod ...

Derry
. There is also Donegal Airport ( ga, Aerfort Dhún na nGall), popularly known as Carrickfinn Airport, which is located in The Rosses.


Rail

Railway lines are run by Northern Ireland Railways (NIR). Belfast to Bangor and Belfast to Lisburn are strategically the most important routes on the network with the greatest number of passengers and largest profit margins. The Belfast-Derry railway line connecting Londonderry railway station, via Coleraine railway station, Coleraine, Ballymoney railway station, Ballymoney, Ballymena railway station, Ballymena and Antrim railway station, Antrim, with Lanyon Place railway station, Lanyon Place and Belfast Great Victoria Street railway station, Belfast Great Victoria Street is a noted scenic route. Belfast is also connected with Carrickfergus railway station, Carrickfergus and Larne Harbour railway station, Larne Harbour, Portadown railway station, Portadown, Newry railway station, Newry and onwards, via the Enterprise (train service), Enterprise service jointly operated by NIR and Iarnród Éireann, to Dublin Connolly. The main railway lines linking to and from Belfast Great Victoria Street and Belfast Central are: *The Derry Line and the Portrush Branch *The Larne Line *The Bangor Line *The Portadown railway station, Portadown Line Only five Irish counties, all in Southern and Western Ulster, currently have no mainline railway. The historic Great Northern Railway of Ireland connected them. They are Cavan, Monaghan, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Donegal. A plan to re-link Sligo and Derry through Donegal has been postponed until at least 2030.


Languages and dialects

Most people in Ulster speak English. English is taught in all schools in the province; Irish language, Irish (') is taught in all schools in the counties that are part of the Republic, and in schools in Northern Ireland, almost exclusively in the Roman Catholic and Irish-medium sectors. In responses to the 2001 census in Northern Ireland 10% of the population had "some knowledge of Irish"Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agenc
Census 2001 Output
and 4.7% could "speak, read, write and understand" Irish. Large parts of
County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William ...
are
Gaeltacht ( , ; plural ) is an Irish-language word for any primarily Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the term ''Gaeltacht'' refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language i ...

Gaeltacht
areas where Irish language, Irish is the first language and some people in west Belfast also speak Irish, especially in the "Gaeltacht Quarter". The dialect of Irish most commonly spoken in Ulster (especially throughout Northern Ireland and County Donegal) is ' or Donegal Irish, also known as ' or Ulster Irish. Donegal Irish has many similarities to Scottish Gaelic. Polish language, Polish is the third most common language. Ulster Scots dialects, sometimes known by the neologism ''Ullans'', are also spoken in Counties Down, Antrim, Londonderry and Donegal.


History


Early history

Ulster is one of the Provinces of Ireland, four Irish provinces. Its Place names in Irish, name derives from the Irish language ''Cúige Uladh'' (), meaning "fifth of the
Ulaid Ulaid (Old Irish, ) or Ulaidh (Irish language, Modern Irish, ) was a Gaelic Ireland, Gaelic Provinces of Ireland, over-kingdom in north-eastern Ireland during the Middle Ages made up of a confederation of dynastic groups. Alternative names includ ...
h", named for the ancient inhabitants of the region. The province's early story extends further back than written records and survives mainly in legends such as the Ulster Cycle. The archaeology of Ulster, formerly called Ulandia, gives examples of "ritual enclosures", such as the "Giant's Ring" near Belfast, which is an earth bank about 590 feet (180 m) in diameter and 15 feet (4.5 m) high, in the centre of which there is a dolmen. The Boyne and its tributary the Blackwater were the traditional southern boundary of the province of Ulster and appear as such in the Táin Bó Cúailnge. According to historian Francis John Byrne the
Ulaid Ulaid (Old Irish, ) or Ulaidh (Irish language, Modern Irish, ) was a Gaelic Ireland, Gaelic Provinces of Ireland, over-kingdom in north-eastern Ireland during the Middle Ages made up of a confederation of dynastic groups. Alternative names includ ...
'possibly still ruled directly in County Louth, Louth as far as the Boyne in the early seventh century' when Congal Cáech made a bid for the High King of Ireland, kingship of Tara. In 637, the Battle of Moira, known archaically as the Battle of Magh Rath, was fought by the Gaelic High King of Ireland Domhnall II against his foster son King Congal Cáech of Ulster, supported by his ally Domhnall the Freckled (Domhnall Brecc) of Dalriada. The battle was fought near the Woods of Killultagh, just outside the village of Moira in what would become County Down. It was allegedly the largest battle ever fought on the island of Ireland, and resulted in the death of Congal and the retreat of Domhnall Brecc. In early medieval Ireland, a branch of the Northern Uí Néill, the Cenél nEógain of the province of Ailech, gradually eroded the territory of the province of Ulaidh until it lay east of the River Bann. The Cenél nEógain would make Tír Eóghain (most of which forms modern County Tyrone) their base. Among the High King of Ireland, High Kings of Ireland were Áed Findliath (died 879), Niall Glúndub (died 919), and Domnall ua Néill (died 980), all of the Cenél nEógain. The province of Ulaidh would survive restricted to the east of modern Ulster until the Norman invasion in the late 12th century. It would only once more become a province of Ireland in the mid-14th century after the collapse of the Norman
Earldom of Ulster The Earldom of Ulster was an Anglo-Normans, Anglo-Norman lordship in northern medieval Ireland, established by John de Courcy from the conquest of the province of Ulaid in eastern Ulster. It was the most important Anglo-Norman lordship in the nor ...
, when the O'Neills who had come to dominate the Northern Uí Néill stepped into the power vacuum and staked a claim for the first time the title of "king of Ulster" along with the Red Hand of Ulster symbol. It was then that the provinces of Ailech, Airgialla, and Ulaidh would all merge largely into what would become the modern province of Ulster. Domnall Ua Lochlainn (died 1121) and Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn (died 1166) were of this dynasty. The Meic Lochlainn were in 1241 overthrown by their kin, the clan Ó Néill (see
O'Neill dynasty The O'Neill dynasty (Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United ...
). The Ó Néill's were from then on established as Ulster's most powerful Gaelic family. The Ó Domhnaill (O'Donnell) dynasty were Ulster's second most powerful clan from the early thirteenth-century through to the beginning of the seventeenth-century. The O'Donnells ruled over Tír Chonaill (most of modern County Donegal) in West Ulster. After the Norman Ireland, Norman invasion of Ireland in the twelfth century, the east of the province fell by conquest to Norman barons, first John de Courcy, De Courcy (died 1219), then Hugh de Lacy, 1st Earl of Ulster, Hugh de Lacy (1176–1243), who founded the Earl of Ulster, Earldom of Ulster based on the modern counties of Antrim and Down. In the 1600s Ulster was the last redoubt of the traditional
Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Whe ...

Gaelic
way of life, and following the defeat of the Irish forces in the Nine Years War (Ireland), Nine Years War (1594–1603) at the battle of Kinsale (1601), Elizabeth I of England, Elizabeth I's English forces succeeded in subjugating Ulster and all of Ireland. The Gaelic leaders of Ulster, the O'Neill dynasty, O'Neills and O'Donnells, finding their power under English suzerainty limited, decamped ''en masse'' in 1607 (the Flight of the Earls) to
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
Europe. This allowed the British monarchy, English Crown to plant Ulster with more loyal English and Scottish Plantations of Ireland, planters, a process which began in earnest in 1610.


Plantations and civil wars

The
Plantation of Ulster The Plantation of Ulster ( gle, Plandáil Uladh; Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ''Ul ...

Plantation of Ulster
( gle, Plandáil Uladh) was the organised colonisation (or Plantation (settlement or colony), plantation) of Ulster by people from Great Britain (especially Presbyterians from
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
). Private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while the official plantation controlled by James I of England, King James I of England (who was also King James VI of Scots) began in 1609. All land owned by Irish chieftains, the O'Neill dynasty, Ó Neills and O'Donnell dynasty, Ó Donnells (along with those of their supporters), who fought against the English Crown in the Nine Years' War (Ireland), Nine Years War, were confiscated and used to settle the colonists. The Counties County Donegal, Tyrconnell, ,
Fermanagh Fermanagh ( ga, Fir Manach) was a kingdom of Gaelic Ireland Gaelic Ireland ( ga, Éire Ghaelach) was the Gaelic political and social order, and associated culture, that existed in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Uls ...

Fermanagh
,
Cavan Cavan ( ; ) is the county town of County Cavan in Ireland. The town lies in Ulster, near the border with County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. The town is on the main N3 road (Ireland), N3 road that links Dublin (to the south) with Enniskillen, ...
, County Coleraine, Coleraine and
Armagh Armagh ( ; ga, Ard Mhacha, , "Macha Macha () was a sovereignty goddess Sovereignty goddess is a scholarly term, almost exclusively used in Celtic studies (although parallels for the idea have been claimed in other traditions, usually unde ...

Armagh
comprised the official Colony. However, most of the counties, including the most heavily colonised Counties Antrim and
Down Down most often refers to: * Down, the relative direction opposed to up * Down (gridiron football), in American/Canadian football, a period when one play takes place * Down feather, a soft bird feather used in bedding and clothing * Downland, a typ ...

Down
, were privately colonised. These counties, though not officially designated as subject to Plantation, had suffered violent depopulation during the previous wars and proved attractive to Private Colonialists from nearby Britain. The efforts to attract colonists from England and Scotland to the Ulster Plantation were considerably affected by the existence of British colonies in the Americas, which served as a more attractive destination for many potential emigrants. The official reason for the Plantation is said to have been to pay for the costly
Nine Years' War The Nine Years' War (1688–1697), often called the War of the Grand Alliance or the War of the League of Augsburg, was a conflict between France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a ...
, but this view was not shared by all in the English government of the time, most notably the English Crown-appointed Attorney-General for Ireland in 1609, John Davies (poet), Sir John Davies: The Plantation of Ulster continued well into the 18th century, interrupted only by the Irish Rebellion of 1641. This Rebellion was initially led by Phelim O'Neill, Sir Phelim O'Neill (Irish: ''Sir Féilim Ó Néill''), and was intended to overthrow British rule rapidly, but quickly degenerated into attacks on colonists, in which dispossessed Irish slaughtered thousands of the colonists. In the ensuing Irish Confederate Wars, wars (1641–1653, fought against the background of Wars of the Three Kingdoms, civil war in England, Scotland and Ireland), Ulster became a battleground between the Colonialists and the native Irish. In 1646, an Irish army under command by Owen Roe O'Neill (Irish: ''Eoghan Ruadh Ó Néill'') inflicted a defeat on a Scottish Covenanter army at battle of Benburb, Benburb in County Tyrone, but the native Irish forces failed to follow up their victory and the war lapsed into stalemate. The war in Ulster ended with the defeat of the native army at the Battle of Scarrifholis, near Newmills on the western outskirts of
Letterkenny Letterkenny ( ), nicknamed "the Cathedral Town", is the largest and most populous town in County Donegal, Ireland. It lies on the River Swilly in East Donegal and has a population of 19,274. It is the List of settlements on the island of Ireland ...
,
County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William ...
, in 1650, as part of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland conducted by Oliver Cromwell and the New Model Army, the aim of which was to expel all native Irish to the Province of Connacht, Connaught. Forty years later, in 1688–1691, the Williamite War in Ireland, Williamite War was fought, the belligerents of which were the Williamites and Jacobitism, Jacobites. The war was partly due to a dispute over who was the rightful claimant to the British Throne, and thus the supreme monarch of the nascent British Empire. However, the war was also a part of the greater War of the Grand Alliance, fought between Louis XIV of France, King Louis XIV of France and his allies, and a European-wide coalition, the Grand Alliance (League of Augsburg), Grand Alliance, led by William III of England, Prince William of Orange and Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire, supported by the Holy See, Vatican and many other states. The Grand Alliance was a cross-denominational alliance designed to stop French eastward colonialist expansion under Louis XIV, with whom James II of England, King James II was allied. The majority of Irish people were "Jacobites" and supported James II due to his 1687 Declaration of Indulgence or, as it is also known, The Declaration for the Liberty of Conscience, that granted religious freedom to all denominations in England and Scotland and also due to James II's promise to the Irish Parliament of an eventual right to self-determination. However, James II was deposed in the Glorious Revolution, and the majority of Ulster Colonialists (Williamites) backed William III of England, William of Orange. It is of note that both the Williamite and Jacobite armies were religiously mixed; William of Orange's own elite forces, the Dutch Blue Guards had a papal banner with them during the invasion, many of them being Dutch Roman Catholics. At the start of the war, Irish Jacobites controlled most of Ireland for James II, with the exception of the Williamite strongholds at
Derry Derry, officially Londonderry (), is the second-largest City status in the United Kingdom, city in Northern Ireland and the fifth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name ''Daire'' (mod ...

Derry
and at Enniskillen in Ulster. The Jacobites Siege of Derry, besieged Derry from December 1688 to July 1689, ending when a Williamite army from Britain relieved the city. The Williamites based in Enniskillen defeated another Jacobite army at the battle of Newtownbutler on 28 July 1689. Thereafter, Ulster remained firmly under Williamite control and William's forces completed their conquest of the rest of Ireland in the next two years. The war provided Protestant Ulster loyalism, loyalists with the iconic victories of the Siege of Derry, the Battle of the Boyne (1 July 1690) and the Battle of Aughrim (12 July 1691), all of which the Orange Order commemorate each year. The Williamites' victory in this war ensured British rule in Ireland for over 200 years. The Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland excluded most of Ulster's population from having any Civil power (sociology), power on religious grounds. Roman Catholics (descended from the indigenous Irish) and Presbyterians (mainly descended from Scottish colonists) both suffered discrimination under the Penal Laws (Ireland), Penal Laws, which gave full political rights only to Anglican Protestants (mostly descended from English settlers). In the 1690s, Scottish Presbyterians became a majority in Ulster, due to a large influx of them into the Province.


Emigration

Considerable numbers of Ulster-Scots emigrated to the North American colonies throughout the 18th century (160,000 settled in what would become the United States between 1717 and 1770 alone). Disdaining (or forced out of) the heavily English regions on the Atlantic coast, most groups of Ulster-Scots settlers crossed into the "western mountains," where their descendants populated the Appalachian Mountains, Appalachian regions and the Ohio Valley. Here they lived on the frontiers of America, carving their own world out of the wilderness. The Scots-Irish soon became the dominant culture of the Appalachians from Pennsylvania to Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. Author (and US Senator) Jim Webb puts forth a thesis in his book ''Born Fighting'' to suggest that the character traits he ascribes to the Scots-Irish such as loyalty to kin, mistrust of governmental authority, and a propensity to bear arms, helped shape the American identity. In the United States Census, 2000, 4.3 million Americans claimed Scots-Irish ancestry. The areas where the most Americans reported themselves in the 2000 Census only as "American" with no further qualification (e.g. Kentucky, north-central Texas, and many other areas in the Southern US) are largely the areas where many Scots-Irish settled, and are in complementary distribution with the areas which most heavily report Scots-Irish ancestry. According to the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 400,000 people in the US were of Irish birth or ancestry in 1790 when the first US Census counted 3,100,000 white Americans. According to the encyclopaedia, half of these Irish Americans were descended from Ulster, and half from the other three provinces of Ireland.


Republicanism, rebellion and communal strife

Most of the 18th century saw a calming of sectarian tensions in Ulster. The economy of the province improved, as small producers exported linen and other goods. Belfast developed from a village into a bustling provincial town. However, this did not stop many thousands of Ulster people from emigrating to British North America in this period, where they became known as "Scotch-Irish American, Scots Irish" or "Scotch-Irish American, Scotch-Irish". Political tensions resurfaced, albeit in a new form, towards the end of the 18th century. In the 1790s many Roman Catholics and Presbyterianism, Presbyterians, in opposition to Protestant Ascendancy, Anglican domination and inspired by the American and French revolutions joined in the United Irishmen movement. This group (founded in Belfast) dedicated itself to founding a non-sectarian and independent Irish republic. The United Irishmen had particular strength in
Belfast Belfast ( ; , ) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a popul ...

Belfast
, Antrim and
Down Down most often refers to: * Down, the relative direction opposed to up * Down (gridiron football), in American/Canadian football, a period when one play takes place * Down feather, a soft bird feather used in bedding and clothing * Downland, a typ ...

Down
. Paradoxically however, this period also saw much sectarian violence between Roman Catholics and Protestants, principally members of the Church of Ireland (Anglicans, who practised the British state religion and had rights denied to both Presbyterians and Roman Catholics), notably the "Battle of the Diamond" in 1795, a faction fight between the rival "Defenders (Ireland), Defenders" (Roman Catholic) and "Peep O'Day Boys" (Anglican), which led to over 100 deaths and to the founding of the Orange Institution, Orange Order. This event, and many others like it, came about with the relaxation of the Penal Laws (Ireland), Penal Laws and Roman Catholics began to be allowed to purchase land and involve themselves in the linen trade (activities which previously had involved many onerous restrictions). Protestants, including some Presbyterians, who in some parts of the province had come to identify with the Roman Catholic community, used violence to intimidate Roman Catholics who tried to enter the linen trade. Estimates suggest that up to 7000 Roman Catholics suffered expulsion from Ulster during this violence. Many of them settled in northern Connacht. These refugees' linguistic influence still survives in the dialects of Irish spoken in County Mayo, Mayo, which have many similarities to Ulster Irish not found elsewhere in Connacht. Loyalist militias, primarily Anglicanism, Anglicans, also used violence against the Society of United Irishmen, United Irishmen and against Roman Catholic and Protestant Irish republicanism, republicans throughout the province. In 1798 the United Irishmen, led by Henry Joy McCracken, launched a rebellion in Ulster, mostly supported by Presbyterians. But the British authorities swiftly put down the rebellion and employed severe repression after the fighting had ended. In the wake of the failure of this Irish Rebellion of 1798, rebellion, and following the gradual abolition of official religious discrimination after the Act of Union 1800, Act of Union in 1800, Presbyterians came to identify more with the State and with their Anglican neighbours, due to their civil rights now being respected by both the state and their Anglican neighbours. The 1859 Ulster Revival was a major Christian revival that spread throughout Ulster.


Industrialisation, Home Rule and partition

In the 19th century, Ulster had the only large-scale industrialisation and became the most prosperous province on the island. In the latter part of the century,
Belfast Belfast ( ; , ) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a popul ...

Belfast
briefly overtook Dublin as the island's largest city. Belfast became famous in this period for its huge dockyards and shipbuilding – and notably for the construction of the RMS Titanic, RMS ''Titanic''. Sectarian divisions in Ulster became hardened into the political categories of ''unionist (Ireland), unionist'' (supporters of the Union with Britain; mostly, but not exclusively, Protestant) and ''Irish nationalist, nationalist'' (advocates of repeal of the 1800 Act of Union, usually, though not exclusively, Roman Catholic). Northern Ireland's current politics originate from these late 19th century disputes over Irish Home Rule Movement, Home Rule that would have devolved some powers of government to Ireland, and which Ulster Protestants usually opposed—fearing for their religious rights calling it "Rome Rule" in an autonomous Roman Catholic-dominated Ireland and also not trusting politicians from the agrarian south and west to support the more industrial economy of Ulster. This lack of trust, however, was largely unfounded as during the 19th and early 20th century important industries in the southernmost region of Cork included brewing, distilling, wool and like Belfast, shipbuilding. Thousands of unionists, led by the Dublin-born barrister Sir Edward Carson and James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon, James Craig, signed the "Ulster Covenant" of 1912 pledging to resist Home Rule. This movement also set up the Ulster Volunteers, Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). In April 1914, the UVF assisted with the landing of 30,000 Imperial Germany, German rifles with 3,000,000 rounds at
Larne Larne (, the name of a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, S ...
by blockading authorities. (See Larne gunrunning). The Curragh Incident showed it would be difficult to use the British army to enforce home rule from Dublin on Ulster's unionist minority. In response, Irish republicans created the Irish Volunteers, part of which became the forerunner of the Irish Republican Army (1917–22), Irish Republican Army (IRA) – to seek to ensure the passing of the Home Rule Act 1914, Home Rule Bill. Upon the outbreak of Ireland and World War I, World War I in 1914, 200,000 Irishmen, both Southern and Northern, of all religious sects volunteered to serve in the British Army. This had the effect of interrupting the armed stand-off in Ireland. As the war progressed, in Ireland, opposition to the War grew stronger, reaching its peak in 1918 when the British government proposed laws to extend conscription to all able bodied Irishmen during the Conscription Crisis of 1918, Conscription Crisis. In the aftermath of World War I, the political party Sinn Féin ("Ourselves") won the majority of votes in the 1918 Irish general election, this political party pursued a policy of complete independent self-determination for the island of Ireland as outlined in the Sinn Féin Manifesto 1918, Sinn Féin campaign Manifesto of 1918, a great deal more than the devolved government/Home Rule advocated by the (I.P.P) Irish Parliamentary Party. Following the Sinn Féin victory in these elections the Irish Declaration of Independence was penned and Irish Republicanism, Irish republicans launched a guerrilla campaign against British rule in what became the
Irish War of Independence The Irish War of Independence ( ga, Cogadh na Saoirse) or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary or ...
(January 1919 – July 1921). The fighting in Ulster during the Irish War of Independence generally took the form of street battles between Protestants and Roman Catholics in the city of Belfast. Estimates suggest that about 600 civilians died in this communal violence, the majority of them (58%) Roman Catholics. The IRA remained relatively quiescent in Ulster, with the exception of the south
Armagh Armagh ( ; ga, Ard Mhacha, , "Macha Macha () was a sovereignty goddess Sovereignty goddess is a scholarly term, almost exclusively used in Celtic studies (although parallels for the idea have been claimed in other traditions, usually unde ...

Armagh
area, where Frank Aiken led it. A lot of IRA activity also took place at this time in
County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William ...
and the City of
Derry Derry, officially Londonderry (), is the second-largest City status in the United Kingdom, city in Northern Ireland and the fifth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name ''Daire'' (mod ...

Derry
, where one of the main Republican leaders was Peadar O'Donnell. Hugh O'Doherty, a Sinn Féin politician, was elected mayor of Derry at this time. In the First Dáil, which was elected in late 1918, Prof. Eoin Mac Néill served as the Sinn Féin T.D. for Londonderry City (UK Parliament constituency), Londonderry City.


1920 to present

Partition of Ireland, first mooted in 1912, was introduced with the enactment of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which gave a form of "Home rule" self-government to two areas, Southern Ireland (1921–22), Southern Ireland, with its capital at Dublin, and "
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
", consisting of six of Ulster's central and eastern counties, both within a continuing United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Dissatisfaction with this led to the
Irish War of Independence The Irish War of Independence ( ga, Cogadh na Saoirse) or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a name used by various paramilitary or ...
, which formally ceased on 11 July 1921. Low-level violence, however, continued in Ulster, causing Michael Collins (Irish leader), Michael Collins in the south to order a boycott of Northern products in protest at attacks on the Nationalist community there. The Partition was effectively confirmed by the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921. One of the primary stipulations of the treaty was the transformation of Ireland into a self-governing British dominion called the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
(which later became the sovereign
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
), but with the option of a continuation of the home rule institution of Northern Ireland, still within the United Kingdom, if the Northern Ireland Parliament (already in existence) chose to opt out of the Irish Free State. All parties knew that this was certain to be the choice of the Ulster Unionists who had a majority in the parliament, and immediately on the creation of the Free State they resolved to leave it. Following the Anglo Irish treaty, the exact border between the new dominion of the Irish Free State and the future
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
, if it chose to opt out, was to be decided by the Irish Boundary Commission. This did not announce its findings until 1925, when the line was again drawn around six of Ulster's nine counties, with no change from the partition of 1920. Electorally, voting in the six
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
counties of Ulster tends to follow religious or sectarian lines; noticeable religious demarcation does not exist in the South Ulster counties of Cavan and Monaghan in the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
. County Donegal is largely a Roman Catholic county, but with a large
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
minority. Generally, Protestants in Donegal vote for the political party Fine Gael ("Family of the Irish"). However, religious sectarianism in politics has largely disappeared from the rest of the Republic of Ireland. This was illustrated when Erskine Hamilton Childers, Erskine H. Childers, a Church of Ireland member and Teachta Dála (TD, a member of the lower house of the National Parliament) who had represented Monaghan, won election as President of Ireland, President after having served as a long-term minister under Fianna Fáil Taoiseach, Taoisigh Éamon de Valera, Seán Lemass and Jack Lynch. The Orange Order freely organises in counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, with several Orange parades taking place throughout County Donegal each year. The only major Orange Order march in the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective id ...

Republic of Ireland
takes place every July in the village of Rossnowlagh, near Ballyshannon, in the south of County Donegal. , Northern Ireland has seven Roman Catholic members of parliament, all members of Sinn Féin (of a total of 18 from the whole of Northern Ireland) in the British House of Commons at Parliament of the United Kingdom, Westminster; and the other three counties have one Protestant T.D. of the ten it has elected to Dáil Éireann, the Lower House of the Oireachtas, the parliament of the Republic of Ireland. At present (August 2007) County Donegal sends six T.D.'s to Dáil Éireann. The county is divided into two constituencies: Donegal North-East and Donegal South-West, each with three T.D.'s. County Cavan and County Monaghan form the one constituency called Cavan-Monaghan, which sends five T.D.'s to the Dáil (one of whom is a Protestant). The historic Flag of Ulster served as the basis for the Ulster Banner (often referred to as the Flag of Northern Ireland), which was the flag of the Executive Committee of the Privy Council of Northern Ireland, Government of Northern Ireland until the proroguing of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, Stormont parliament in 1973.


Wildlife

William Sherard (1659–1728) was the first biologist in Ulster.


Sport

In Gaelic games (which include Gaelic football and hurling), Ulster GAA, Ulster counties play the Ulster Senior Football Championship and Ulster Senior Hurling Championship. In football, the main competitions in which they compete with the other Irish counties are the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and National Football League (Ireland), National Football League, while the Ulster club champions represent the province in the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship. Hurling teams play in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, National Hurling League and All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship. The whole province fields a team to play the other provinces in the Railway Cup in both football and hurling. Gaelic Football is by far the most popular of the Gaelic Athletic Association, GAA sports in Ulster but hurling is also played, especially in Antrim GAA, Antrim, Armagh GAA, Armagh, Derry GAA, Derry, and Down GAA, Down. The border has divided association football teams since 1921. The Irish Football Association (the I.F.A.) oversees the sport in N.I., while the Football Association of Ireland (the F.A.I.) oversees the sport in the Republic. As a result, separate international teams are fielded and separate championships take place (Irish Football League in Northern Ireland, League of Ireland in the rest of Ulster and Ireland). Anomalously, Derry City F.C. has played in the League of Ireland since 1985 due to crowd trouble at some of their Irish League matches prior to this. The other major Ulster team in the League of Ireland is Finn Harps of Ballybofey, County Donegal. When Derry City F.C. and Finn Harps play against each other, the game is usually referred to as a 'North-West Derby'. There have been cup competitions between I.F.A. and F.A.I. clubs, most recently the Setanta Sports Cup. In Rugby union, the professional rugby team representing the province and the Irish Rugby Football Union, IRFU Ulster Branch, Ulster Rugby, compete in the Pro14 along with teams from Wales,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, Italy, South Africa and the other Irish Provinces (Leinster Rugby, Leinster, Munster Rugby, Munster and Connacht Rugby, Connacht). They also compete in Europe's main club rugby tournament, the European Rugby Champions Cup, which they won (as the Heineken Cup) back in 1999. Notable Ulster rugby players include Willy John McBride, Jack Kyle and Mike Gibson (rugby union), Mike Gibson. The former is the most capped British and Irish Lions, British and Irish Lion of all time, having completed four tours with the Lions in the sixties and seventies. At international level players from Ulster join with those from the other 3 provinces to form the Irish national team. They do not sing the Irish national anthem but do sing a special song which has been written celebrating the "4 proud provinces" before matches start. The Ulster Hockey Union organises field hockey in the province and contributes substantially to the all-island hockey team. Cricket is also played in Ulster, especially in Northern Ireland and East Donegal. Ulster enters two teams into the Cricket in Ireland#Inter-Provincial Series, Interprovincial Series; the Northern Knights (cricket team), North Knights and the North West Warriors, who are the respective representative teams of the Northern Cricket Union (NCU) and the North West Cricket Union (NWCU). Golf is, however, by far the most high-profile sport and the sport that Ulster has succeeded at more than any other. Ulster has produced many great players over the years, from Fred Daly (golfer), Fred Daly winning The Open Championship in 1947 at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake to most recently Rory McIlroy winning the US Open and Darren Clarke winning The Open Championship in 2011. Ulster also has another Major winner in Graeme McDowell, who also won the US Open in 2010. The Open Championship returned to Ulster, after 68 years, in 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. In horse racing, specifically National Hunt, Ulster has produced the most dominant jockey of all time, Tony McCoy. The Circuit of Ireland Rally is an annual auto racing, automobile rallying, rally held in Ulster since 1931.


See also

* Culture of Ulster * Kings of Ulster * List of Ulster-related topics * Red Hand of Ulster * Ulidia (kingdom) * Ulster nationalism * Ulster-Scots people


Notes


References

* Deane, C. Douglas (1983). ''The Ulster Countryside''. Century Books. .


Further reading

* Braidwood, J. 1964. ''Ulster Dialects, An Introductory Symposium'' Ulster Folk Museum. * Faulkner, J. and Thompson, R. 2011. ''The Natural History of Ulster.'' National Museums of Northern Ireland. Publication No. 026. * Morton, O. 1994. ''Marine Algae of Northern Ireland.'' Ulster Museum, Belfast. *Sheane, Michael. ''Ulster Blood.'' Ilfracombe: Arthur H. Stockwell, 2005. * ''Stewart and Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland.'' Third edition. Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen's University of Belfast


External links


Census 2011 – Ulster Irish language stats
*   The cases of "Protestant Ulster" and Cornwall, by Professor Philip Payton * {{Authority control Ulster, Divided regions Provinces of Ireland