To Ourselves, Article Four

The name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland.

Here’s an interesting little titbit of Irish trivia.

There is no such country as “the Republic of Ireland.”  That’s not our name and never has been. The name of the country is firstly Eire, demonstrating our continuing commitment to place the Irish language first, or Ireland.

Why? Well, it’s less of a mouthful then “the Irish Free State.” But more than that, it’s another tie in to Articles Two and Three. We’re not Southern Ireland. We’re not the Republic of Ireland, different from elsewhere. We are Ireland. So, the name “Ireland” is both a geographical term defining the entire island and a political term defining the 26 counties. But the message of the article is clear: We’re Ireland, the whole damn island. The text of Article Four was not considered inflammatory enough to be considered in the 19th Amendment, but there it is.

The name “The Republic of Ireland” comes from John A. Costello. His declaration of a republic in 1949 was called “the Republic of Ireland Act.” And thus, our football team gets acronymed RoI even when the association is the FAI not FARI.

Still, “the Republic” serves to distinguish us from the north and calls attention to our political background. That, and it rolls of the tongue nicely, don’t you agree?

As an aside, I’ve always had a strange fascination with this little bit of the geopolitical landscape.  You might be surprised at what some countries are actually called. Russia? Never heard of it, you must mean the “Russian Federation.” Greece? I assume you mean the “Hellenic Republic.” San Marino? That would be “The Most Serene Republic of San Marino,” yes?

In fact, we seem to take the opposite trend to most countries. Their actual titles have a geographical (Hellenic, Russian, Great Britain) and political (Republic, Federation, United Kingdom of) aspect while being known only by the geographical one. While our actual title is purely geographical (and inaccurate at that) while the wrong name is the geographical/political one.

Fascinating, I’m sure you agree?

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