Northern Ireland: 1921–1998
Northern Ireland was not the invention of a cartographer who quickly scrambled together an inchoate border in a situation of rapid and violent decolonisation; it had roots, it had cultural and political coherence, and an economic base (cf. the claim of Bowyer Bell (1996: 223) that Ulster had no history or heritage). Protestants did not have to artificially construct a sense of nationhood, for they had long defined their identity around two antinomies or opposites; the one religious, the other national. Northern Ireland defined itself by its Protestantism against Catholicism and by its Britishness against Irishness; Protestantism and Britishness were its core values and they had been established as symbols of Ulster centuries before. This also meant, however, that anti-Catholicism and anti-Irishness continued as central defining tenets of the new state.
KeywordsCivil Unrest Protestant Church Catholic Bishop Unionist Party Catholic Community
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