The security and livelihoods of Ulster depended on maintaining, unhindered, those British connections that Irish nationalism opposed, and still does. However, this didn’t mean that Ulster workers saw themselves as not Irish.
Despite Northern Ireland's fractious start, the fledgling state was able to establish itself on a firm basis after a potentially threatening start, with Westminster supporting the new state militarily and economically. Not only had Ulster’s industry been important for the war effort but they had also been reliant on British capital, markets and raw materials.
Northern Ireland came into existence for good reason, and for much of the last 100 years it was the beacon of science and industry and modern values on this island. It a rich, industrial and cultural history within a highly regarded global trading nation and punches well above its weight as part of the fifth largest economy in the world.