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While the Nationalists can point to their Celtic ‘forefathers’, the Unionists have claimed that their ancestors, the Cruthin, were in what is now claimed as being Northern Ireland long before the Celts (Dixon 2001: 2).
Nationalists usually date the woes of Ireland to the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1169 and England’s domination of Ireland ever since (Dixon 2001: 2).
However, the historical roots of the Northern Ireland crisis run much deeper.
The eviction of the Irish led to a period of bloody conflicts.As both national and religious differences between the Protestants and Catholics remained prominent for centuries, new political philosophies formed among Ulster’s inhabitants (Hennessey 1997: 1).In the historical debate between Nationalists and Unionists there is some dispute over which group has first claim to Northern Ireland (Dixon 2001: 2).Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student.This is not an example of the work produced by our Essay Writing Service.However, for this essay, when discussing the politics of Northern Ireland, the terms Nationalist and Unionist shall be used.For religious based commentary, the religious labels of Catholic and Protestant will be used.The conflict in Northern Ireland is most easily understood as being between two main groups (Dixon 2001: 2).First, the Unionists, who identify themselves as belonging to the Protestant faith, and comprise approximately sixty percent of Northern Ireland’s population see themselves as British and vote for the Ulster Unionist Party and Democratic Unionist Party (Dixon 2001: 2, Mitchell 2006: 31).1690 saw King William of Orange defeat the Catholic King of England and Scotland at the Battle of the Boyne, thus ensuring Protestant dominance in the region (Dixon 2001: 3).At the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries, ‘penal laws’ were passed which further established Protestant domination in Ireland (Dixon 2001: 3).