ÉIRE (Irish: ( listen )) is Irish for "Ireland", the name of an
island and a sovereign state . The English pronunciation is
/ˈɛərə/ (AIR-ə ).
* 1 Etymology
* 1.1 Difference between
* 2 As a state name
* 3 Spelling Eire rather than
* 4 Other uses
* 5 Footnotes
* 6 Bibliography
Hibernia , and
The modern Irish
Éire evolved from the
Old Irish word
Ériu , which
was the name of a Gaelic goddess.
Ériu is generally believed to have
been the matron goddess of Ireland, a goddess of sovereignty, or
simply a goddess of the land. The origin of
Ériu has been traced to
Proto-Celtic reconstruction *Φīwerjon- (nominative singular
Φīwerjū < Pre-
Proto-Celtic -jō). This suggests a descent from the
Proto-Indo-European reconstruction *piHwerjon-, likely related to the
adjectival stem *piHwer- (cf.
Sanskrit pīvan, pīvarī and pīvara
meaning "fat, full, abounding"). This would suggest a meaning of
Proto-Celtic form became Īweriū or Īveriū in Proto-Goidelic
. It is highly likely that explorers borrowed and modified this term.
During his exploration of northwest Europe (circa 320 BC), Pytheas of
Massilia called the island Ierne (written Ἰέρνη). In his book
Geographia (circa 150 AD), Claudius Ptolemaeus called the island
Iouernia (written Ἰουερνία). Based on these historical
accounts, the Roman Empire called the island
The evolution of the word would follow as such:
Proto-Celtic *Φīwerjon- (nominative singular *Φīwerjū)
* Proto-Goidelic *Īweriū or *Īveriū
* Modern Irish Éire
A 19th century proposal, which does not follow modern standards of
etymology, derives the name from
Scottish Gaelic :
* ì (island) + thairr (west) + fónn (land), which together give
ì-iar-fhónn, or "westland isle"
This is similar in meaning to the Norse name for Irish people, "west
men", which subsequently gave its name to the Icelandic island of
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ÉIRE AND ERIN
Éire is simply the name for the island of
Ireland in the Irish
language, and sometimes used in English ,
Erin is a common poetic name
for Ireland, as in
Erin go bragh . The distinction between the two is
one of the difference between cases of nouns in Irish.
Éire is the
nominative case , the case that (in the modern Gaelic languages) is
used for nouns that are the subject of a sentence, i.e., the noun that
is doing something as well as the direct object of a sentence. Erin
derives from Éirinn, the Irish dative case of Éire, which has
replaced the nominative case in Déise Irish and some non-standard
sub-dialects elsewhere, in
Scottish Gaelic (where the usual word for
Ireland is Èirinn) and Manx (a form of Gaelic), where the word is
spelled "Nerin," with the initial n- probably representing a
fossilisation of the preposition in/an "in" (cf. Irish in Éirinn,
Scottish an Èirinn/ann an Èirinn "in Ireland"). The genitive case ,
Éireann, is used in the Gaelic forms of the titles of companies and
Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail), Dáil
Éireann (Irish Parliament), Poblacht na hÉireann (The Republic of
Ireland) or Tuaisceart Éireann (Northern Ireland)
AS A STATE NAME
Éire as the country name on both its postage
stamps and coinage. Main article:
Names of the Irish state
Article 4 of the Irish constitution adopted in 1937 by the government
Éamon de Valera states that
Éire is the name of the state, or
in the English language, Ireland. The Constitution's English-language
preamble also described the population as "We, the people of Éire".
Despite the fact that Article 8 designated Irish as the "national" and
"first official" language,
Éire has to some extent passed out of
everyday conversation and literature, and the state is referred to as
Ireland or its equivalent in all other languages. The name "Éire" has
been used on Irish postage stamps since 1922; on all Irish coinage
Irish euro coins ); and together with "Ireland" on
passports and other official state documents issued since 1937.
"Éire" is used on the Seal of the President of
Initially after independence the United Kingdom insisted on using
only the name "Eire" and refused to accept the name "Ireland". It
Eire (Confirmation of Agreements) Act 1938 putting in law
that position. At the
1948 Summer Olympics
1948 Summer Olympics the organisers insisted
that the Irish team march under the banner "Eire" notwithstanding that
every other team was marching according to what their name was in
English. The UK Government used what some Irish politicians stated
were "sneering titles such as Eirish". The UK Government would refer
to "Eire Ministers" and the "Eireann Army" and generally avoid all
reference to "Ireland" in connection with the state. The
1949 changed this to "Republic of Ireland". It was not until after the
Good Friday Agreement
Good Friday Agreement that the UK government accepted the
preferred name of simply "Ireland", at the same time as Ireland
dropped its territorial claim over Northern Ireland.
Before the 1937 Constitution, "Saorstát Éireann" (the Irish name of
Irish Free State
Irish Free State ) was generally used.
During the Emergency (as
World War II
World War II was known), Irish ships had
"EIRE" (and the Irish tricolour ) painted large on their sides and
deck, to identify them as neutrals. Irish Oak torpedoed
mid-Atlantic, oil by Kenneth King , showing "EIRE" prominently.
(National Maritime Museum of
In 1922–1938 the international plate on Irish cars was "SE". From
1938 to 1962 it was marked "EIR", short for Éire. In 1961 statutory
instrument no. 269 allowed "IRL", and by 1962 "IRL" had been adopted.
Irish politician Bernard Commons TD suggested to the
Dáil in 1950
that the government examine "the tourist identification plate bearing
the letters EIR ... with a view to the adoption of identification
letters more readily associated with this country by foreigners".
"EIR" is also shown in other legislation such as the car insurance
statutory instrument no. 383 of 1952 and no. 82 of 1958.
Under the 1947 Convention Irish-registered aircraft have carried a
registration mark starting "EI" for Éire.
From January 2007, the Irish government nameplates at meetings of the
European Union have borne both
Éire and Ireland, following the
adoption of Irish as a working language of the
European Union .
SPELLING EIRE RATHER THAN ÉIRE
When Irish-language texts were printed in
Gaelic type , diacritics
were retained on upper-case letters as for lower-case letters. From
the later 1940s, in conjunction with other reforms, printing switched
to the same "
Roman type " used for most other Latin alphabet
languages. There was some uncertainty about whether the síneadh fada
(acute accent) should be written on upper-case letters. While it was
preserved in all-Irish texts, it was often omitted when short
fragments of Irish appeared alone or in English texts. Noel Davern
asked in the
Dáil in 1974 why Irish stamps had EIRE rather than
ÉIRE. The reply from the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was: The
accent has been omitted on most Irish stamps issued over the past ten
years in the interests of artistic balance and in accordance with a
common practice in the printing of Irish in Roman script for display
purposes. This is a prevailing typographical convention and is common
to several European languages, including French.
The spelling Eire is generally deplored by Irish-speakers as worse
than a misspelling, because eire is a separate word, meaning "a
burden, load or encumbrance". The minister in 1974 stated, "The word
on the stamp ... does not mean 'eire' and it is not understood to mean
'eire' by anybody except Davern." Stamps later reverted to a Gaelic
type with the accent preserved.
In 1938 the British government provided in the Eire (Confirmation of
Agreements) Act 1938 that British legislation could henceforth refer
Irish Free State
Irish Free State as "Eire" (but not as "Ireland"). The 1938 Act
was repealed in 1981, and in 1996 a British journalist described Eire
as "now an oddity rarely used, an out-of-date reference".
Founded in 1937, the
Eire Society of Boston is an influential
Éire has also been incorporated into the names of Irish commercial
and social entities, such as Eir (formerly Eircom and Telecom
Éireann) and its former mobile phone network,
Eircell . In 2006 the
Irish electricity network was devolved to
EirGrid . The company
"BetEire Flow" (eFlow ), named as a pun on "better", is a French
consortium running the electronic tolling system at the West-Link
bridge west of Dublin. According to the Dublin Companies Registration
Office in 2008, over 500 company names incorporate the word
Sometimes the incorporation is used for humorous or ironic effect,
such as the sub reddit for Irish software developers named
Cormac Ó Gráda 's "Éirvana" paper in 2007 on the
Celtic Tiger economy.
* ^ Proto-Celtic—English lexicon
* ^ Mallory, J.P. and D.Q. Adams, ed. Encyclopedia of Indo-European
Culture. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Pub., 1997, p. 194
* ^ Forbes, John (1848), The Principles of Gaelic Grammar (2nd
ed.), Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, p. 160, The Celtic words ì, inns,
an island, will forma key to the etymology of the names of many
insular and peninsular places in the world; as, Ile, Islay. Jura or
Iura, Jura. Uist, Uist, Inchkeith, isle of Keith. Eireinn, or Eirionn,
ì-iar-fhónn, wetland isle; Ireland.
* ^ "Constitution of Ireland". Office of the Houses of the
Oireachtas. Retrieved on 14 March 2007
* ^ Hamilton-Bowen, Roy (2009). Roy Hamilton-Bowen, ed. Hibernian
Handbook and Catalogue of the Postage Stamps of Ireland. Rodgau,
Germany: Rodgau Philatelic Service GmbH.
* ^ 1948 Olympic team members honoured at Dublin ceremony
Dáil Éireann - Volume 96 - 11 April 1945
* ^ http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1922/en/act/pub/0001/sched1.html
* ^ SI 269 of 1961:"...the letters EIR are used to indicate the
name of the State but the letters IRL may be substituted therefor."
* ^ "
Dáil Éireann – Volume 119 - 22 March, 1950 –
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. – Motor Identification
Letters". Historical-debates.oireachtas.ie. 22 March 1950. Retrieved
26 March 2010.
* ^ "SI 82 of 1958 text". Irishstatutebook.ie. 31 December 1959.
Retrieved 26 March 2010.
* ^ "SI 383 of 1952". Irishstatutebook.ie. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
* ^ A B C "Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Irish Postage
Dáil debates. 271 (8): 38 cc.1140–1. 28 March 1974.
* ^ McBain, A. (1982). An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic
Language. Edinburgh: Clark Constable. ISBN 0-901771-68-6 . Retrieved
20 August 2011.
* ^ Wilson, John (1996). Understanding journalism: a guide to
issues. Routledge. p. 269. ISBN 9780415115995 . Retrieved 29 May 2013.
* ^ The Eire Society of Boston\'s history page on-line (seen on 25
* ^ "eir homepage". Eir.ie. 29 November 2006. Retrieved 26 March
* ^ "National Roads Authority statement 2007". Nra.ie. Retrieved 26
* ^ "CRO search page". Cro.ie. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
* ^ "Some recent social changes are not easily linked with the
Tiger per se" (PDF). Retrieved 26 March 2010.
Look up ÉIRE in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
* Noel Browne, Against the Tide
* Constitution of
* Stephen Collins, The Cosgrave Legacy
* Tim Pat Coogan, De Valera (Hutchinson, 1993)
* Brian Farrell, De Valera's Constitution and Ours
* F.S.L. Lyons,
Ireland since the Famine
* David Gwynn Morgan, Constitutional Law of Ireland
* Tim Murphy and Patrick Twomey (eds.) Ireland's Evolving
Constitution: 1937–1997 Collected Essays (Hart, 1998) ISBN
* Alan J. Ward, The Irish Constitutional Tradition: Responsible
Government and Modern
Ireland 1782–1992 (Irish Academic Press, 1994)