The Importance of Culture in Northern Ireland

Describe and explain the importance of culture in defining any region studied by you. (30 marks)

2010 Q4C



Region: Northern Ireland

  • Religion defines and differentiates culture.
  • Two dominant religions in Northern Ireland = Protestant (majority) and Catholicism (minority).
  • Large scale immigration occurred in Ireland during the Plantation of Ireland in the 17th Century.
  • Many of these people came from parts of the UK.
  • These migrants were largely Protestant and mostly settled on land in Northern Ireland.
  • There has been historical conflict between the Protestants and Catholics occupying Northern Ireland.
  • Catholics often refute the idea of a divided Ireland while Protestants want to maintain links with Britain. 
  • Religious boundaries have been formed in parts of Northern Ireland (e.g. in Belfast, Co. Antrim) separating Protestants and Catholics. 
  • This division of cultures is symbolised and highlighted by the presence of graffiti and flags in certain areas. 
  • Moments of violence has broken out in years gone by, most notably ‘The Troubles’ which began in the late 1960’s.
  • Little discussion had occurred in Northern Ireland between the two sides until the Belfast Agreement was signed by both parties in 1998. This is also known as the ‘Good Friday Agreement’.
  • The aim of the Good Friday Agreement was to enhance the relationship between both Protestants and Catholics in Ireland.
  • The Good Friday Agreement has 3 key aspects:
  1. Northern Ireland Assembly was created and was filled with democratically elected members
  2. North-South relations were improved with the promise of discussion that would enhance North and South relations both politically and economically. 
  3. A body of North/South ministers were appointed and set with the task of improving cross-border relations in areas such as farming. 


Culture defines any region. There are many examples, Northern Ireland is arguably the easiest example of a region where culture has played a significant role in defining the country. 

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