Protestants of Ulster

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Percentage of Protestants in each electoral division in Ulster. Based on census figures from 2001 (UK) and 2006 (ROI).
0-10% dark green, 10-30% mid-green,
30-50% light green, 50-70% light orange,
70-90% mid-orange, 90-100% dark orange.
Changes in distribution of Irish Protestants, 1861–2011

The Protestants of Ulster are an ethnoreligious group in Ulster.[1] Most Ulster Protestants are descendants of the Protestant settlers involved in the early 17th century Ulster Plantation, mostly Lowland Scottish and Northern English people and predominantly from Galloway and the Scottish Borders.[2] Begun privately in 1606, the Plantation became government-sponsored in 1609. The majority of Ulster Protestants are also Ulster Scots people, but some are also of predominantly English, Irish Gaelic or Huguenot ancestry.[3][4] Another major influx of Scottish Protestants was a result of the seven ill years in the 1690s.[5]

Divisions between Ulster's Protestants and Irish Catholics have played a major role in the history of Ulster from the 17th century to the present day, especially during the Plantation, the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, the Glorious Revolution and the Troubles.[6] Most Ulster Protestants are Presbyterian or Anglican. Repression of Presbyterians by Anglicans (who followed the state religion) intensified after the Glorious Revolution (especially after the 1703 Test Act) and was one reason for heavy emigration to North America by Ulster Presbyterians during the 18th century (see Scotch-Irish American).[7] Between 1717 and 1775, an estimated 200,000 migrated to what became the United States of America.[8] This repression largely ended after the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and the relaxation of the Penal Laws.[9] As Belfast industrialised in the 19th century, it attracted yet more Protestant immigrants from Scotland.[10]

Most Ulster Protestants speak Mid-Ulster English, and some speak one of the Ulster Scots dialects.[citation needed] The vast majority live in Northern Ireland and tend to support the Union with the rest of the United Kingdom.[11]

About 2% of Ulster Protestants reside in the rest of Ulster in the Republic of Ireland (formed after the breakup of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland).[12] Some still retain a sense of Britishness, and a small number have difficulty identifying with the independent Irish state.[13][14]

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  5. ^ K. J. Cullen, Famine in Scotland: The “Ill Years” of the 1690s (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), ISBN 0748638873, pp. 178-9.
  6. ^,,1569841,00.html
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  8. ^ Fischer, David Hackett, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America Oxford University Press, USA (14 March 1989), p. 606; Parke S. Rouse, Jr., The Great Wagon Road, Dietz Press, 2004, p. 32, and Leyburn, James G., The Scotch-Irish: A Social History, Univ of NC Press, 1962, p. 180.
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