Ian paisley wrote:
"Edward Carson was a life-long Irishman, as well as being a life-long unionist,and that made all the difference… On this 28th day of September , 100 years after his pen touched parchment, we salute the man who taught us all how to be true Irishmen and women."
Peter Robinson said in a 2012 speech in Iveagh House Dublin:
"Edward Carson was unquestionably an Irish unionist, and while the legacy of Edward Carson lives on, it may be regretted that the idea of ‘Irish unionism’ in any meaningful sense, as historically defined, does not...
Edward Carson would not be what in today’s terms could be considered a stereotypical unionist. Though he became the leader of Ulster Unionism his origins are, of course, in Dublin. He defined himself as a "liberal” unionist. He had a thick Dublin brogue. He had leading nationalists among his close friends. Though leading the cause of Ulster he was proud to call himself Irish.
He wanted to keep Ireland united and within the Union and he repeatedly sought accommodation with his nationalist fellow-countrymen."
"No other Irishman speaks with so deliberate a brogue or says "What" so obviously "Phwat!" No one on earth is so clearly the " typical Irishman" (that is to say, the Irishman of the muddy imagination) as Sir Edward Carson is."
On the Union in his own words Carson wrote in 1912:
"It is not possible for the living needs of two prosperous countries to be bound indefinitely by the “dead hand” of an ancient statute, but we maintain that geographical and economic reasons make a legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland necessary for the interests of both. We see, as Irish Ministers saw in 1800, that there can be no permanent resting place between complete Union and total separation."
Carson later wrote:
"I fought to keep Ulster part of the United Kingdom, but Stormont is turning her into a second-class Dominion."
In spite of Carson's well known and avowed Irishness, his successors don't unanimously share his Irishness. Paisley said that he was Irish but Peter Robinson said he was Northern Irish.
"I consider myself an Ulster or Northern Ireland unionist not an Irish Unionist. The same would be true of the vast majority of unionists in Northern Ireland. That is a significant change not just from one hundred years ago but even from fifty years ago... For many centuries, Ulster was a place apart in Ireland, but until more recent decades there was still a real sense of being Irish. I accept that there are some unionists in Northern Ireland who are still relaxed identifying themselves as 'Irish’ though they are a minority... Whereas Carson would have regarded himself as Irish and British I believe that most unionists today regard their identity as being from Northern Ireland and British... The identity of what was Irish unionism has morphed into Ulster unionism, Northern Ireland unionism and even for some northern Irish unionism, but no matter how people define themselves the core of unionism remains the same.
Ian Paisley Jr said in 1997:
"[My identity is] very eclectic [ including] things which I choose which are British and things which are Irish and things which I choose which are unique to Northern Ireland… [But it is a] British way of life… I don’t look to see what is happening in the Irish exchequer. I am interested in what is happening in the British budget … interested in English football teams, in television, such as British soap operas, all those things."
Kyle Paisley said he is Northern Irish:
"No. As a Northern Irish person, I don't believe the 1916 Rising defines me. That's not to say that it doesn't affect me or that it has nothing to teach me."
Interestingly Ian Paisley Jr. appears to be a strong fan of Irish rugby, as you can see here. While being British and Northern Irish, Arlene Foster said she is most definitely an Irish rugby fan. As she said on the Nolan Show in Nobember 2015:
"Yes [I consider myself Irish when watching Irish Rugby,] because we have some fantastic Ulster Rugby players playing for them."
Brian Walker said that Paisley said in 2008 to UTV that he was an "Irish unionist." Paisley himself said:
"I’m an Ulsterman… I would never deny I was an Irishman… The person that says that [denies they are Irish], they are Irish and there have been more generations from Irish roots in them than they’re prepared to meet. The English that came over here were ‘Irish-ised’ very quickly."
Ian Paisley also said in 1991:
"I would never repudiate the fact that I am an Irishman."
Famous Irish hotelier based in New York John Fitzpatrick once hosted Ian Paisley in his Lexington Avenue hotel. He recalled in an interview Paisley's animated arrival, who declaimed "We are Irish!":
"A year and a half ago we had Dr. Ian Paisley, on his first official visit to New York. Ian Jr., who I had gotten to know, calls me and says, “I’m going to put Dad with you.” I said, “Oh, great, sure, will he be comfortable?” He said, “Absolutely, but there’s only one thing I need from you.” I said, “Don’t worry, it’ll be flying” [the Union Jack]. It would’ve been flying anyway, that’s what we do when any head of state stays here.
So I go out as the cars pull up. I open the door and Ian Paisley gets out and puts his hat on and I swear, he looks at me seriously and says, “My son says you’re okay, and he’s right.” He walks in the door and it’s Christmas week, everybody from Ireland’s in and there are six women from Derry coming out with shopping bags going to get in a car to the airport. And he stops and talks with them and they’re saying, “Dr. Paisley!” It was very funny. He sat down in the front room in the restaurant – that’s his table, the one with the windows. There was no hiding! Some smart person came up to him one day and said, “What are you doing in an Irish hotel?” and he said, “We are Irish!”"
Paisley said in 2007 while in Dublin with Bertie Ahern:
"I am proud to be an Ulsterman, but I am also proud of my Irish roots."
Newton Emerson wrote:
"[Stormont was] clearly intended to keep unionists at arm’s length en route to a united Ireland - and their ‘our wee country’ yearnings caused them to fall for it.
Amusingly, the history of the term ‘Northern Ireland’ is identical.
One of the few unionist leaders to show an understanding of this throughout his career was the late Ian Paisley.
He squared the circle by creating a unionist party that was really an Ulster nationalist party, eventually leaving office proclaiming himself an Irishman and chuckling with his brother Martin McGuinness."
Yet here's the contradiction. In the face of all this clear and explicit evidence, DUP grassroots, in a neuralgic fit and in a fuming paroxysm, deny their Irishness.