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Rotten Prod - The Life of James Baird

This episode needs a bit of an introduction. While the term Rotten Prod, short for Rotten Protestant, sounds like a sectarian slur, the phrase has a very different and fascinating history.

It actually originated within the Protestant community in Ulster to describe a person considered disloyal to Unionism. At the turn of the 20th century, the majority of Ulster Protestants were Unionists, meaning they supported Ireland remaining in the United Kingdom.

However a largely forgotten minority, many of whom were Protestant working class socialists, rejected this view. Believing a United Ireland of one kind or another was better for workers, this left them alienated from their own community. Labelled Rotten Prods, they not only faced vilification but often violence from their neighbours and workmates.

In this podcast, I interview Emmet O’Connor historian in the University of Ulster and author of the book Rotten Prod, the unlikely career of Dongaree Baird. Our discussion focused on the life of James 'Dongaree' Baird a man who lived and worked in the epicentre of sectarian violence in 1920s Ireland - the Belfast Shipyards.

Emmet's book Rotten Prod, the unlikely career of Dongaree Baird is available here

My upcoming book, A Lethal Legacy - A History of Ireland in 18 Murders will be released on September 14th! I think you will love the book, it was shaped by your feedback over the years and written with you in mind. If you pre-order your copy today at Easons & get a 10% discount with the listener coupon code below.


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