Ballymac

Museum of Unionist Military History

Housed in East Belfast’s Ballymac Friendship Centre, on the interface between loyalist Pitt Park and nationalist Short Strand, you will find the Museum of Unionist Military History. The museum has artefacts that chart over 150 years of local involvement in the defence of the Crown and the protection of the Union with mainland Great Britain.

Museum of Unionist Military History
  • Tour Details

    Origins & History of the UVF

    The Ulster Volunteers was a unionist militia founded in 1912 to block domestic self-government (or Home Rule) for Ireland, which was then part of the United Kingdom. The Ulster Volunteers were based in the northern province of Ulster. Many Ulster Protestants feared being governed by a Catholic-majority parliament in Dublin and losing their local supremacy and strong links with Britain. In 1913, the militias were organised into the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and vowed to resist any attempts by the British Government to 'impose' Home Rule on Ulster.

    The two key figures in the creation of the Ulster Volunteers were Edward Carson (leader of the Irish Unionist Alliance) and James Craig, supported by figures such as Henry Wilson, Director of Military Operations at the British War Office. At the start of 1912, leading unionists and members of the Orange Order (a Protestant fraternity) began forming small local militias and drilling. On 9 April Carson and Bonar Law, leader of the Conservative & Unionist Party, reviewed 100,000 'Ulster Volunteers' marching in columns. On 28 September, 218,206 men signed the Ulster Covenant, vowing to use "all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland", with the support of 234,046 women.

    On 13 January 1913, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was formally established by the Ulster Unionist Council. Recruitment was to be limited to 100,000 men aged from 17 to 65 who had signed the Covenant, under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir George Richardson KCB. William Gibson was the first commander of the 3rd East Belfast Regiment of the Ulster Volunteers.

    The UVF was once again reformed in 1966 under the leadership of Gusty Spence, a former British soldier. The organisation's stated goal was to combat Irish republicanism - particularly the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) – and maintain Northern Ireland's status as part of the United Kingdom. During the 30 years of the Troubles the organisation assumed responsibility for over 500 deaths. The UVF declared a ceasefire in 1994 and our journey ends with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

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Eastside Voice Tour
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3
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Museum of Unionist Military History
£5
Per Person
1
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Museum Entry
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1A Fraser Pass , Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Tel 028 9045 2020 | Email robert@charterni.org

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