Ulster and Dixie

Every year on this day, July 12th, the people of Ulster — or at least the Unionists, celebrate the Battle of the Boyne, which was a victory for King William of Orange, and a defeat for King James II.

“The Battle marked a turning point in Protestant history in the country. Over the years the day has also been marked by sectarian violence between pro-Unionist groups and pro-Republican forces.[…]

Why is there often trouble surrounding Orange Day?

Ulster’s population is split roughly in half between those from the Protestant and Catholic communities.

For Orangemen, this almost a sacred day has been associated with violent scenes almost since the beginning. Starting before the Twelfth, the Orange Order and other Ulster loyalist marching bands hold large parades along routes decorated with British flags. Huge bonfires are lit. Many Protestants argue the marches are a cultural event.”

This history is not taught much in American schools, so the many Americans of Ulster ancestry are often not conversant with it. It should be better-known so that people here in the States might understand the history of the conflicts there through the centuries. Most Americans have simply heard that it’s Irishman-against-Irishman, with the only differences being over religious doctrine. That isn’t strictly true, because the conflict, though having a religious component, is more about ethnic and historical differences. Put most simply, the ‘Celtic’ Irish see the Ulster Protestants as interlopers, being descendants of those who came to Ireland as part of the Ulster Plantation, which placed Protestants from Scotland and the border counties of England in Ireland as colonists.

Many people in the Southern states claim mostly Ulster ancestry, or at least partially, and it is good to see that there is increasing awareness about the South’s links to Ulster. As I’ve tried to demonstrate on this blog, the Ulster folk were not all Scots, nor were they mainly Irish as we understand Irish; they were in many cases English, that is, of Anglo-Saxon descent, though few Americans seem to know this.

It seems as though there is an increasing awareness of these roots on the part of many people from Dixie, and it’s gratifying to see this. At the Ulster Awake blog, there’s a nice piece about the bond between Southron Americans of Ulster descent and the Ulster folk. It’s encouraging to see the photos of the murals and other tributes to their common roots.

It’s good to see that the Confederate Battle Flag is being displayed there by some Ulster folk as a mark of their solidarity with their Southron cousins, and I hope they continue to stand up against the propaganda onslaught, which apparently is taking place on that side of the Atlantic as well as on the American side.

Solidarity amongst all the Anglosphere peoples is a good thing; I hope it increases, but in order for that to happen, more of us have to become aware of our roots and our commonalities.

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