Today marks the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland, when the Fourth Home Rule Bill went into effect. Someone posted to the Facebook group Flags and Vexillology a photograph of an early flag for Northern Ireland, a blue ensign with six six-pointed stars surrounding a shield of the traditional province of Ulster. This flag, however used, was superseded by the Ulster Banner, taken from the shield of the arms of Northern Ireland, which was granted in 1924.
Paul Halsall also draws our attention to an article at West Cork Historical Society Forum, about what happened to the once numerically strong (but still minority) Unionist/Loyalist population of Cork after 1920.
In 1919 the Unionist community in County Cork was prosperous, numerous and committed in varying degrees to the Unionist cause. They had their own newspaper, held parades and maintained a complex social system. Yet by 1923 their community lay decimated, torn asunder by a campaign of murder and intimidation and forced into a supposedly “Free State” which did little to protect them. What brought about such cataclysmic changes? How was the campaign of murder conducted and for what reasons? Did Cork Unionism maintain its identity during those violent years – and can this still be seen today?
The numerical decline between 1911 and 1926 of the Protestant (and mostly unionist) community in Cork, and indeed throughout Southern Ireland, is startling. The historian Hart puts the level of Protestant decline during this period at no less than 34% (the Roman Catholic population declined by merely 2%) and comments that “this catastrophic loss was unique to the Southern minority and unprecedented: it represents easily the single greatest measurable social change of the revolutionary era”
It is difficult to argue with Hart’s assessment that this population decline is unique in British history – representing “the only example of the mass displacement of a native ethnic group within the British Isles since the 17th century”
More at the link. Those who weren’t murdered fled to Northern Ireland or Britain. Reminds me of my own Loyalist ancestors following the American Revolution.