Like the ‘Tory in clogs’ of Edwardian Britain, the Unionist working man has generally eluded the historian of modern Ireland. Indeed, to some extent, the image of Irish Unionism, whether popular or scholarly, has been supplied by the apologetic biographers of the ‘great men’ of loyalism, and by the rhetoric of political opponents like Michael Farrell: at any rate the historiography of the movement is peopled with irredentist squires and Anglo-Irish peers, bowler-hatted Orange artisans – Engel's ‘Protestant brag-garts’ – and cynical industrial barons. The existence of a more popular Unionism is acknowledged, though only in a context (the militancy of 1912, the bravura of 12 July marches) when it may not be ignored: even so, as with an older scholarly attitude towards popular British toryism, there has been a tendency among historians to treat mass Unionism as a freak of progress, demanding apologetic explanation rather than sustained illumination. With the institutions of popular Conservatism now, after thirty years of historical research, a firm feature of the British historical landscape, the need to reveal something of the electoral base of Ulster Unionism is all the more apparent. This is particularly true of the rural hinterland of the loyalist movement which, even more than Belfast, has been the victim of neglect.