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I know there was conflict between Protestants and Roman Catholic nationalists due to their difference of opinion on Home Rule, but why would the protestants in Ulster and conservative party want to coalesce with England? They weren't exactly 'gaining' anything from it. Did they come from England?

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Have you had a look here? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ireland_(1801%E2%80%931923) –  canadiancreed Feb 3 '12 at 2:48
    
Yeah, I have. I've used wikipedia plenty before, thanks. I was looking for something a little less 'broad' as you might say and a little more "at one place". –  Sarah Srasnov Feb 3 '12 at 4:04
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Did you really read the wikipedia article? If you had read all the way through, I don't think you'd be asking this question-perhaps you would know the reasons for the conflict and wouldn't need to ask, or otherwise you would be asking a more specific question. But from your comment, it sounds like you don't want to read the whole article. SE works best when questioners have made an effort to answer their own question, and can ask a more precise question about specific –  bluphocks Feb 3 '12 at 15:48
    
Despite this being a comment, as you pointed out, it deserves an upvote IMHO. –  Lohoris Feb 3 '12 at 16:04
    
Edited to be more specific. I had read the wiki, just thought it was too much of a narrative and organized by time instead of motive. –  Sarah Srasnov Feb 3 '12 at 18:10
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3 Answers

The problem started with the "flight of the Earls" in 1607. After losing a war to England, the Catholic Ulster nobles Hugh O'Donnell, Hugh O'Neil, and others, fled Ireland for Europe. Meanwhile, England brought in Protestant "settlers" from Scotland to "pacify" Ulster. Thus, the formerly most rebellious province of Ireland became the most pro British.

These tensions were exacerbated in the 17th century, first with Cromwell's "to Hell or Connaught" policy that drove many Catholics out of the two eastern provinces, Ulster and Leinster, to Connaught in the northwest, the poorest of the four Irish provinces. Protestant domination of Ulster was further reinforced when Catholic King James II was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 by his Protestant son in law, William of Orange in a civil war, (which is why the Protestants call themselves "Orangemen").

Basically, Ulster Protestants were England's "catspaw" in Ireland. As such, they did not want to be part of an independent, Catholic, Ireland. Their preference, which lasts to this day, was to be part of the "United Kingdom" with English Protestants,

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... and this is also why many Irish consider it a grave insult to wear orange on St. Patrick's Day. Word to the wise (or unwise). –  T.E.D. Apr 11 '12 at 17:47
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The principal reason that Protestants in Ireland opposed Home Rule was fear of extermination.

In every uprising from the Irish Confederate Wars of 1641 to the 1798 rebellion there were numerous massacres of Protestants, and this bred a fear of rule by a Catholic Church dominated majority.

After the establishment of the Free State there was a church/state policy to discriminate against Protestants, evidenced by the decline of the Protestant population from around 10% in 1900 to around 3% today.

Don't agree with a lot of the conclusions drawn in this link but the statistics don't lie. http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/protestants_1861_1991.html

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The Protestants in Ireland were a small (but wealthy) minority. This put them in a precarious situtation, since an uprising could deprive them of power. If they unite with the United Kingdom of Great Britain, then they are in a much safer place.

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