From violence in the trenches, to the struggle for independence and the eventual partition of the country, Ireland's cultural history is indelibly marked by the shadow of the Great War. As the war raged on, the nine-county province of Ulster - refashioned in 1921 as the six counties of Northern Ireland - was flooded with images of masculine military heroism. Soldiers, veterans, and paramilitaries became the most visible and potent incarnation of manhood on the streets of Belfast and Derry. In Ulster's Men, Jane McGaughey provides an historical glimpse into the unionist ideals of manliness in Northern Ireland, delving into the power dynamics of political propaganda, military service, fraternal societies, and paramilitary violence. Drawing upon depictions of men found in war diaries, police reports, government documents, and the popular press, McGaughey presents unionist masculinities as far more than the monolithic stereotype of dour austerity and misplaced loyalty. An exploration of the history of gender representation through the mirror of Northern Ireland's tortuous past, Ulster's Men weaves together images of Edwardian heroism, imperial patriotism, the fellowship of men in uniform, and the chaotic hostilities of war.
“[Ulster’s Men] is a major contribution to the historiography surrounding the understanding of the Unionist movement, militarization, Ireland and the First World War, and the formation of the Northern Ireland state.” Australasian Journal of Irish Studies