Northern Ireland/Ulster



Figure 1.--This CDV portrait shows an unidentified boy who looks to be about 8-9 years old. He wears a belted tunic suit, a short tunic with long pants. Tunic outfits like this in America were worn in the 1840s and 50s, but are rare by the 1860s. Similrly stled tunics seemed to have remained popular in Briain into the 60s. Given the fact that the CDV appeared in the late-1850s, we suspect that this portrait was taken in the early-60s. Note the small white collar and small bow as wll as the hat which looks somewhat like a boater. The photographic studio was Willim F. Ferris in Belfast. The portrait came from the Jefferson family album from Northern Ireland. The dealer reports that the collection began about 1880, but the CDV looks to us more like the 1860s.

Northern Ireland as a separate entity is a very recent constituent part of the United Kingdom. For most of its history it was just one part of Ireland, the northern counties. Beginning with the Easter Rebellion, the Irish began fighting for their independence (1916). The Catholic Church was an important part of the Irish struggle for independence. The Irish Free State left the United Kingdom in 1922, but the six northern counties with Protesant majorities voted to remain with Britain. The religious difference was the result of the Plantation of Ulster. This was the colonisation effort in northern Ireland launched during the reign of James I (early 17th century). English and Scottish Protestants were settled on land confiscated from Catholic Irish landowners. We have little information on boys clothing in Ulster. There may have been significant differences in the clothing worn by Catholic and Protesant boys in the 19th century, princiaplly because of the poverty of the rural Catholics.

Historical Background

The history of Northern Ireland, often referred to as Ulster, until the Ulster Plantations (17th century) is essentilly the same as the overall history of Ireland. Northen Ireland as a separate entity is a very recent constituent part of the United Kingdom. For most of its history it was just one part of Ireland, the northern counties. The Ulster Plantation introduced Protestantism to Northern Ireland which was the basis for a feeling of sepsrteness from Catholic southern Ireland. Beginning with the Easter Rebellion, the Irish began fighting for their independence (1916). The Catholic Church was an important part of the Irish struggle for independence. The Irish Free State left the United Kingdom in 1922, but the six northern counties of Ulster with Protesant majorities voted to remain with Britain. Northern Ireland is not the same as Ulster. Ulster comprises nine counties, of which six (Antrim, Armagh, (London)Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone) became Northen Ireland at Partition. The other three (Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan) are part of the Republic. The religious difference was the result of the Plantation of Ulster. This was the colonisation effort in northern Ireland launched during the reign of James I (early-17th century). English and Scottish Protestants were settled on land confiscated from Catholic Irish landowners.

Economy


Chronology

We do not have a suffiebt archive of images from Ulster to develop a chronological assessment at this time. The portrait here shows children in Ulster dressing identically with English children t the time (figure 1).

Garments

The garments we see Ulster boys wearing are essentially the same as we see being worn in England. We do not yet have much information s our Ilster rchiveis very limited. Younger boys might wear a variety of skirted garments like dresses and skirts. We are not sure to what extent kilts were worn. We suspect that the conventions were the same as in England. We note boys wearing tunic outfits similar to those wortn in England. The unidentified boy here during the 1860s is a good example of a mid-century tunic suit, in this cse worn with long oants (figure 1). We note another Ulstr boy, Robert Muir, wearing a Fauntleroy-trimmed sailor-stled tunic suit at the turn-of-the 20th century wirn with bloomer knickers and long stockings. We note quite a few images of Ulster boys wearing sailor suits. They sem more populsr than in the Reublic to the south.

Activities


Religion

We have little information on boys clothing in Ulster. There may have been significant differences in the clothing worn by Catholic and Protesant boys in the 19th century, princiaplly because of the poverty of the rural Catholics.

Institutions

The primary government institution that children involve children is of course schools. There are other important instituions for children, especially charity institutions. The two most important here are the work house and orphanage. Our informtion is limited, but as best we can tell these institutions were similar to those in England, but there were differences. Of course until after World War I, Ireland was not divided. Thus there are no separate stories for southern and northern Ireland. There is a sad history of work houses in Ireland. And by the time the division took place (1920s), the work houses were being closed throughout the United Kingsom. Workhouses existed in Ireland before the 19th century, but on a relatively limited scale. The Irish Parliament passed an Act (1703) which set up a House of Industry in Dublin 'for the employment and maintaining the poor thereof'. [O'Connor] Authorities had the authority to commit people and to punish those already there. The punishments included flogging, imprisonment, and deportation. These houses were set up at various sites throughout Ireland. Ireland became part of Great Britain under the Act of Union during the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars (1801). The British government attempted to address the problem of widespread poverty in Ireland A succession of Parliamentary Select Committees (1804, 1819, 1823, and 1830) achived next to nothing. And there were virtual non-stop Royal Commissions and Special Committees of Enquiry which investigated the situation in Ireland (1800-40). The British Government seemed more concerned about Irish emigration to England than in dealing with the poverty problem. Parliament passed the landmark 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act which made the work house the only form of poor relief in England and Wales. Parliament decided that this was not suitable for Ireland. Parliament thus passed the ground breakinhg Irish Poor Law Act (1838), just before the horiffic Irish Polato Famine. It proved a disaster. Some 130 workhouses were constructed. Many of these imposing, if forboding tructures still exist.Construction was still underway when the Potato Famine occurred. Men woman and children died insused and outdside the poor houses waiting to be admitted. Until the Potato Famine few Irish people emigrated to Ameruca. Catholocism was a factor. The Potato Famine disaster changed that and the Irish became the first lrge group of European Catholics to reach America. We also notice orphanages beig set upin Ireland.

Schools

Ulster is northern Ireland and part of the United Kingdom. We have listed the various U.K. countries separately, primarily because of differences between Rngland and Scotland. We know very little about Ulster at this time. A reader writes, "I see that there is no section for Northern Ireland in HBC. This is a shame as being ‘very British’ and a fairly conservative place it has preserved until recently many of the uniform styles that were more common in England a couple of generations ago." Our reader has provided an account of his personal experiences at a grammar (selective secondary) school.

Families

We have just begun to acquire information on Ulster families. We notice an unidentified family from Clones.

Individuals

We have some information from a privlidged English-Ulster family in which Field Marshal Alexander grew up. Today as far as we know, Catholic and Protestant children dress identically.

Sources

O'Connor, John. Workhouses of Ireland: The Fate of Ireland's Poor.






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Created: 7:48 PM 9/24/2008
Last updated: 5:09 AM 11/21/2012