Citizens, Northern Ireland is a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, located in the northeast of the island of Ireland.
It is variously described as a country, province, region, or “part” of the United Kingdom, amongst other terms. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland.
Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by an act of the British parliament. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland’s population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom, most of whom were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. However, a significant minority, mostly Catholics, were nationalists who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule.
Today, the former generally see themselves as British and the latter generally see themselves as Irish, while a distinct Northern Irish identity is claimed both by a large minority of Catholics and Protestants and by a majority of those who are non-aligned.
For most of the 20th century, when it came into existence, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between these two sides in what First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble called a “cold house” for Catholics. In the late 1960s, conflict between state forces and chiefly Protestant unionists on the one hand, and chiefly Catholic nationalists on the other, erupted into three decades of violence known as “the Troubles”, which claimed more than 3,500 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including the decommissioning of weapons, although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems and sporadic violence has continued.
All this aside, Northern Ireland has settled out of the Troubles and claims some of the friendliest people and most beautiful countryside in the world!
“Yellow Man” or “Yellowman” is a particularly delicious confection that is a renowned Northern Ireland speciality. It is traditionally sold at the “Oul’ Lammas Fair”, Ireland’s oldest traditional market fair.
Yellowman is a chewy toffee-textured honeycomb produced in Northern Ireland.
Yellowman is sold in non-standard blocks and chips and is associated with the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, County Antrim, where it is sold along with other confectionery and often dulse.
Yellowman, or Yellaman, is similar to Honeycomb toffee, except that the more solid ‘rind’ usually consists of at least half the quantity. The rind is hard, having a similar consistency to rock.
Yellowman needs to be heated to high temperatures to get the golden syrup and sugar mixture to reach the ‘hard-crack’ (300 °F) – the temperature at which boiled sugar becomes brittle when cooled.
It will also only acquire its unique bubbly and crunchy consistency when a reaction occurs between the vinegar and the baking soda, which vigorously adds carbon dioxide gas throughout the mixture.
The TFD secret addition to this recipe is a touch of vanilla! 😀
Battle on – The Generalissimo
1 ½ cups Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
50g (2oz) Irish butter
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
Take great care with this one as boiling sugar can be very dangerous!
To Cook: Gently mix the syrup, sugar, vanilla, butter and vinegar together in a large saucepan. Then bring it slowly to the boil (do not stir). Boil until a drop hardens in cold water, then carefully stir in the baking soda. Be careful, the mixture will foam up when the soda goes in!
Pour out on to a lightly-greased marble slab and when cool enough to handle, work the edges into the center. Keep doing this until the mixture turns to a pale yellow color. Pop it into a lightly-greased flat tin and leave to cool and set. When cold, break it into bite-sized chunks with a clean hammer.