Ulster Irish in United Kingdom

The Ulster Irish have only been reported in United Kingdom
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Ulster-Irish people comprise residents of Northern Ireland, mainly from a Protestant background, who generally identify as Northern Irish or British rather than Irish. They are mainly descended from English and Scottish settlers who moved to Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster, in the 17th Century.

The settlers’ religious affiliation was Protestant and they lived alongside the existing Roman Catholic Irish population in Ulster. A strong British and Protestant identity was subsequently affirmed through the establishment of the United Kingdom (in 1801) and the development of the British Empire. Ulster’s economy was also influenced by the Industrial Revolution and therefore developed in a more industrialized way than the rest of Ireland.

Northern Ireland was formed when the island of Ireland was partitioned in the early 1920s and six counties of Ulster remained within the United Kingdom. The region was governed by a Protestant and unionist administration until the late 1960s, when an intense and prolonged 30-year conflict – known as the Troubles – began. National identity in Northern Ireland is a contested issue but relationships have improved through a successful peace process and the formation of a cross-community government.

What Are Their Lives Like?

English is the everyday language. Family life is important and brothers and sisters are close, often living nearby. A relatively large number of people in Northern Ireland continue to live in rural areas and are involved in agriculture; its economy is mainly comprised of government services and relatively small businesses, and tourism is a major source of income. Rugby and soccer are popular sports, and Northern Irish people – from both main communities – are well-known for their hospitality and creativity.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Christianity was established in Ireland by Patrick in the 5th Century AD; most Ulster-Irish people identify as Protestant although many are nominal in their faith and have not yet encountered Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Many are evangelical and share in a long Christian heritage marked by Patrick’s mission to Ireland, the Reformation, and the Ulster Revival of 1869 which strongly influenced the theology of most Protestant denominations in the region.

All towns have a range of churches from several Protestant perspectives; churches dedicate significant resources to evangelism and holiday Bible clubs for children and young people are a regular part of church life, especially in rural areas. Support for global mission is strong – a large number of evangelical missionaries from Northern Ireland have served, and continue to serve, around the world.

The cities of Belfast and Derry/Londonderry are notably more secular and, throughout the region, a Protestant identity is often viewed as interchangeable with a unionist political identity. There remains a considerable need for the building (and rebuilding) of good relationships between Protestant and Catholic communities, and across the island of Ireland – many churches and individual Christians seek to make a difference in this area.

What Are Their Needs?

There is a history of tension between Protestant and Roman Catholic communities in Northern Ireland, which can be greater in areas affected by the recent Troubles, although considerable progress has been made in reconciliation since the 1990s.

Many Ulster-Irish people have a good understanding of Christian beliefs through their neighbours, their upbringing, or the influence of churches in the education system. However, church attendance and participation has decreased in recent decades.

Religious tradition is a significant influence with individuals and families often identifying with their denomination – or Protestantism in general – rather than expressing personal faith in Jesus. As with the UK and Ireland in general, society is becoming more secular and there is a great need for people to find their real purpose and direction in life, through Jesus.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Ulster Irish in United Kingdom.

Scripture Prayers for the Ulster-Irish in UK
Ask for continued commitment to Jesus and the gospel by believers.
Pray that nominal and secular Protestants will give their lives to Jesus Christ.
Pray for continued political and economic stability.
Pray for wisdom as Christians navigate through change in society.


Conflict Archive on the Internet, Ulster University: https://cain.ulster.ac.uk
Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, County Down: www.saintpatrickcentre.com
Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey 2019 (church attendance): www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2019/background/chattnd2.html
Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey 2004 (evangelicalism): www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2004/religious_observance/uechrstn.html

Profile Source:   Peter Cheney  

People Name General Ulster Irish
People Name in Country Ulster Irish
Population this Country 932,000
Population all Countries 932,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 5
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 6  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed
Alternate Names Irish, Northern; Northern Irish
People ID 15703
ROP3 Code 110387
Country United Kingdom
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country United Kingdom
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Primary Language English (932,000 speakers)
Language Code eng   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Northern Ireland
Dialect Code 3200   Global Recordings Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language English (932,000 speakers)
Language Code eng   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Northern Ireland
Dialect Code 3200   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking English

Primary Language:  English

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1530-1995)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1380-2011)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1382-2020)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (Global Recordings Network)
Audio Recordings DAVAR Partners recording, complete Bible
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (Faith Comes By Hearing)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories in English
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Audio Recordings StoryRunners Oral Bible Stories
Film / Video Creation to Christ
Film / Video Father's Love Letter
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video General Ministry Resources
Film / Video God's Love Story
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Good Seed Evangelistic Materials
Film / Video I Against My Brother (English)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in English
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Rivka (Jesus Film Project)
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Anglican
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 14.00 %)
92.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
8.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
80.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
5.0 %
Roman Catholic
15.0 %
Profile Source Peter Cheney  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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