Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mapping the Other

Further to mapping Northern Ireland's Scots-speaking areas based on 2011 Census data, the Blether Region was interested to compare the result with a similar council-based map for religion (Protestant or Catholic) on the Endgame in Ulster blog. The maps confirm a strong correlation between language and religion (though it should be stressed that this is at the level of community rather than individual). Apart from the general observation that the local authority areas in which there are more Protestants than Catholics are more numerous than those with above-average percentages for knowledge of Scots, two main differences emerge:
  • As previously noted, Moyle is majority Catholic and Nationalist but one of the strongest Scots-speaking areas.
  • The influence of the Ulster English can be seen in a Scots-free Protestant-majority area along the Lagan Valley and into northern County Armagh (an area later unfortunately dubbed "murder triangle"), where English Planters were assigned a pocket of O'Neill land. Over time, that seems to have combined with the influence of English as a mercantile and administrative language to eliminate Scots from the Belfast commuter belt, in County Down bringing the tongue to the brink of extinction.

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