So the people of Ulster were and are very different, when compared or contrasted with their fellow Irish men and women of the other provinces. To take but one example, even in pre-history (when fact and myth become a blur), the Ulstermen were powerful violent figures capable of both bravery and guile; study, for example, the stories concerning the ‘Red Hand of Ulster’ or the folk-tales of Cuchulain, the ‘Hound of Ulster’. When the Vikings came to establish a trading base in Ireland, over 1,000 years ago, they found Ulster’s rocky coasts and war-like people far too threatening. Instead they travelled a further 100 miles south and set up camp in the area now known as Dublin City.
The Ulsterman’s spoken language, be it native Irish or imported English, had, and has, markedly different dialects and vocabularies to those in the other three provinces. In antiquity some of these effects were created by the very isolation of the original tribal people. But as trading developed with their Scottish near neighbours, shared patterns of speech evolved particularly in the more eastern counties of the province. Even in the 21st century the Scottish influence is immediately recognizable in the English spoken by the indigenous men and women of Co. Antrim.