Talk:British Isles/Archive 8

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Archive 7 Archive 8 Archive 9

Objectionable to "some" people in Ireland

The fact of the matter is that the term British Isles is not recognised in any official or legal form by the Irish Government. Therefore it needs to be clearly stated on the site. Irish Government Website

The use of the word "some" suggests to me that a minority of Irish people have a problem with this term, despite the fact that most Irish people prefer the term "Britain and Ireland" instead. Last year, Dermot Ahern, the minister for foreign affairs, said that British Isles was not recognized "in any legal or inter-governmental sense". The Irish embassy in London has been urged to keep an eye out for any perceived abuse of the term in the British media. An embassy spokesman said that the British Isles had a "quaint ring to it … as if we are still part of the Empire". He said that the embassy did not like it being used, saying: "It is important to us, we are independent, we are not part of Britain, not even in geographical terms." Source: Zimmer79 14:32, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm in Ireland, and am an Irish citizen, and I am not offended by the term "the British Isles" because I understand what it does, and what it does not refer to. There has neve been a plebecite or poll, so your suggestion that "most Irish people prefer the term 'Britain and Ireland' instead" is unsubstantiated. What Ahern and the embassy say is also not necessarily "most Irish people". (I am not suggesting that those comments be dismissed; I'm only saying that "most" isn't appropriate here. "Many" is as far as we can go; it is better than "some" or "most". (One other thing: the term "British Isles" means more than just the two largest islands in the group. It means the Isle of Man and lots and lots of other islands.) -- Evertype· 13:49, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
Been discussed many times: Wikipedia is based on verifiability, not truth. It may be true (and some dispute that - I don't know) that 'most' Irish people have a problem with it. But it is not verifiable. Until we have a verifable source that says otherwise, we can't go making these claims.
I am also an Irish citizen and it is my opinion, having lived in Ireland for 30 years, that Irish people in general do not like the term British Isles. I can't of course prove that. However, the use of "some" suggests that only a minorty of Irish people have a problem with this term. Its like saying "some humans have 10 fingers". Instead why not say, "the term is controversial because it can be seen to imply that Ireland is British". No need for "some". Zimmer79 16:12, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
I am also an Irish citizen and it is my opinion, having lived in Ireland for more than 35 years, that Irish people in general don't care one way or the other about the term 'British Isles' and rarely, if ever, think about it. Certainly some object to it. Demonstrable and verifiable. Possibly many object to it. But there are pages and pages of Talk archives, most of them discussing the topic ad infinitum. I think the current wording is fine. Bastun 15:28, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia has a clear policy on antedotal evidence. We can't use it. Personal expiriences will be naturally skewed towards people objecting to the term. You simply don't get Pro-British Isles campainers. You either object to it, use it or don't use it. Any arguments need to be backed up with the relevent sources. josh (talk) 15:18, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
I removed the following inserted as a lead paragraph:
"The term British Isles is not legally recognised nor does it have any official status in the Republic of Ireland. The Irish government's policy is that the term is not used by the government and is without any official status, as stated by Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern in 2005. It should therefore be noted that the information below is officialy contested information.Official Irish Government Site The term British Isles has also been removed from the Irish atlases that are used in all state schools.Irish Times Article"
I have no real position on the subject of Ireland in the British Isles, except to say that this clearly is not appropriate as a lead paragraph and, as far as i can see, the subject is covered at some length in the article. Rockpocket 08:24, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
And it makes no sense either. If the term is "without any official status", how can this possibly constitute its being "officialy contested"? Surely the very opposite is true. In any case, all this goes to show is that that politicians are not omnipotent, and cannot legislate for language. The term "British Isles" has been used, in a completely neutral sense, in Irish parliamentary debates, official Irish government reports, and by Irish politicians, so clearly the term really is recognised in Ireland (and by recognised I mean the normal English meaning of that word, not some political fiction). TharkunColl 08:59, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
True. Though, according to the editor who wrote this, i may now be an enemy of the State for having the audacity to use the term. Rockpocket 09:05, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
So long, and thanks for all your work. Please pack a small bag (transparent). The Thought Police will be at your door in five minutes. Bastun 09:10, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

The subject is very delicate. Given the fact that the Irish Government has publicly pronounced on the matter in the Irish Parliament it is essential to include the information on this. If the article is called "British Isles", and refers to the Republic of Ireland in any form, it is essential to show the Irish Government's positon on this. As the article is, it is too vague and the Irish Government's position is not stated early enough in the article. Although I agree with Rockpocket that the Irish Government's position should not start as a lead paragraph, the Irish Government's position should be clearly stated directly after the first mention of Ireland as being a part of the British Isles. I have made an edit to reflect this need - 03/11/2006 Frankdeano
Billiethekid, I think you overestimate the value of a simple PQ. And maybe you should re-read the last line of Dermot Ahern's response. Its not actually saying what you think its saying. Lastly, "The term British Isles has also been removed from the Irish atlases that are used in all state schools" is untrue. One publisher will be removing the term from future print runs of the Irish edition of its atlas. Hardly the officially sanctioned censorship you're making it out to be. Bastun 22:19, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

<reduce indent> Ah, little willy, thanks for the laugh. Sadly your innocent reading of a politician's words has misled you. Monitoring doesn't mean actually doing anything about what they find. This Dáil Éireann discussion was noted way back on this talk page, when it was also noted that the BBC and the Guardian were using the term British Isles with nothing in their style guides to say they shouldn't, and not a cheep from the RoI government. Enemies of the State can relax, if it takes those nationalist Irish over a year to even draw their policy to the attention of the UK media. As for "most", so far we have evidence that one parent objected to the famous atlas, and didn't get much help from the RoI government that you seem to think is so draconian. Relax ;) ......dave souza, talk 22:47, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

==== Bastun, the fact that Folens have removed the term should not be underestimated. Anyone who knows the Irish System of Education would tell you that Folens are the biggest publishers of Georgraphy books and Atlases in the Republic of Ireland. Furthermore, the fact that Dermot Ahern made that statement should not be underestimated. Little Dave Souza, Dermot Ahern is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and speaks on behalf of the Irish people when it comes to this subject. He was democratically elected. The fact of Ireland's stance on the term "British Isles" is not highlighted enough in the article...and according to this "talk", I'm not the only person who believes this. The fact that the Irish Government does'nt recognise the term, the fact that it is not used in the Irish Republic should be highlighted more. No part Ireland, excluding the 6 counties which are still under British rule, should be included as part of the term "British Isles, when it is clearly not part of the British Isles. If it is to be included the Irish Government's stance should be clearly highlighted. The opening note on the page is too weak. talk

I disagree with you really. The content is in there. The intro has stayed relatively stable for a few months now. I'm sure not everyone is compeltely happy with the article - that's a compromise for you - but to be honest, I think it would struggle to do the job of remaining neutral any better. Remember that the 'NPOV' does not mean constantly reporting every point of view - it means not expressing any politically driven one as its own. I don't think the article does that at the moment. It reports the point of view of the Irish governemnt. I'm sure there are some changes that could occur but in general, I think the opening of the page is fine. --Robdurbar 10:05, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
I concur with Robdurbar. Your information is not irrelevent, simply innapropriate for an article introduction. The is the basis on which I removed the content (so please call off the (Irish wolf) hounds). Rockpocket 00:11, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

I am looking for some help, cooperation and suggestions on this issue.I feel it's fundamental to have the Irish Government's position put forward in a clear way. The fact of the matter is that the Republic of Ireland is a huge part of the so called "British Isles" and if the Irish Government, which democratically represents the Irish people, doesn't recognise the term "British Isles" surely this should be respected and highlighted with more clarity. The introductory note that currently leads the article is too weak, and doesn't refer to the Irish Government's position. I propose putting my edit in the body of the text , not as the introduction as suggested by User:Rockpocket I would like some feedback on this before I edit, Thanks Billthekid77 06/11/2006 23:57 (-4:00 GMT)

Sounds like a good idea. I think it may have to be couched in slightly more neutral terms (try reading WP:NPOV to see what i mean), but I think it certainly could be covered in detail in the article with, perhaps, a mention in the intro. Why don't you make a draft, either here or on a subpage on your userspace, and i'll be happy to work with you on it. Rockpocket 04:22, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
The controversy is already mentioned as the first line and the Irish Government's policy is clearly stated (in too many words) above the contents box. What more do you want? The first paragraphs should contain a very brief introduction to the important facts, not a detailed account of every individual hobby horse that people want to suggest. --Khendon 14:18, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Archipelago v "British Isles"

It is a worthy point to ask the question that has led to a multi-revert situation of late. Is the article about the archipelago or does it concern itself with British Islands + Former British Islands? If it's about the archipelago, then it would be more NPOV to refer to the subject of the article as the archipelago instead of continually referring to BI ad nausea which may itself be identified as an exercise of pov. The reader will be aware to what the subject of the article is. MelForbes 14:31, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Well whilst I disagree with how you're personally using the term British Isles - well, not disagree as such, but rather I don't think we should pretend that anywhere near a majority use it as such - I don't see the harm in generally using 'the archipalego' or 'the islands' (unless it gets stupid stylistically... I mean most people can judge if a term or phrase is being over used) instead of British Isles. But I wouldn't put a hard rule down on which and I wouldn't start reverting here there and everywhere either. --Robdurbar 16:38, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
In fact, why don't we mix it? I mean, there are about 7 or 8 occurences of 'British Isles' that have been removed/added. Why not keep half and lose half? --Robdurbar 16:40, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Yep, a mix is better, and is more NPOV. MelForbes 17:41, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, Rob. Or a mix of 'British Isles', 'the islands', and 'archipelago' would possibly be better. I have to say that personally I'd always associated 'archipelago' more with more-or-less equally sized island chains, moreso than a couple of really big islands (relatively speaking) and lots of tiny ones. More Indian Ocean than North Atlantic. Bastun 18:12, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree with this last point - archipelago makes one think of sun-drenched isles in the South Pacific. I've never heard the British Isles referred to as an archipelago except on Wikipedia. How about "group"? TharkunColl 18:48, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
The term archipelago is not really appropriate. From the OED: "Any sea, or sheet of water, in which there are numerous islands; and transf. a group of islands." So its primary meaning is not islands, but the sea around. Appropriate for the south sea groups, because they are mostly water, but not for Britain and Ireland and the wee ones around them. -- Evertype· 20:11, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

OK, so just islands then. --Robdurbar 07:16, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
A quick survey, excluding the terminology bit (as the terms are being talked about there),and excluding one or two other examples of 'meta' text, the current article contains:
  • 8 archipalegoes
  • 17 'these islands/isles'
  • 12 British Isles
  • 1 These lands
  • 3 Great Britain and Ireland/Britain and Ireland
Of these, the vast majority of 'British Isles' occur in the history bit, and the vast majority of 'archipalego' occur in the first two paragraphs. --Robdurbar 08:20, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I suggest that we replace archipelago with "island group" or "group of islands" (depending on syntax), and leave the rest as it is. TharkunColl 08:27, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

There are actually THREE sovereign states in the British Isles!

The UK, the RoI, and Sealand. I kid you not! TharkunColl 12:30, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

But is Sealand in the British Isles? I can't find any sources that say it is? And I believe its inhabitants, mainly Mad Jacko McMadman (or whatever he's called) prefer to refer to the 'British Isles' as the 'Chegwin Isles', in honour of the adventurer who discovered them, Keith Chegwin. --Robdurbar 11:41, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Out of all the alternative politically correct names for the British Isles that have been proposed and never actually caught on, I prefer Chegwin Isles to all the others. Should there be an article about them? TharkunColl 16:04, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
I call four! :-P Bastun 21:53, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
May as well make that five. josh (talk) 22:19, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
There is actually one sovereign state in the British Isles, and that is the "British" United Kingdom. Ireland is not British, so it cannot be a British Isle. This is a no-brainer. It may have been the case pre-1922. Some people in the United Kingdom continue to include Ireland, but many people in Ireland, where it counts, exclude Ireland. Even atlases that are used in Irish schools do not use the term. The article talks about the archipelago, now we are told that the so-called archipelago is an erroneous description. And wrong again here too, the article should state the Ireland is sometimes included, depending on point of view (pov). Many good editors have tried to help balance the article, but it still needs the pov element addressed, to state the fact that Ireland is sometimes included. MelForbes 22:40, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that Northern Ireland is in the British isles, and the Republic of Ireland is not? This is ridiculous. john k 23:01, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment.Yes, if you control only part of an island, then it's a wee bit cheeky to claim the whole island. Also it pertains to some basic good manners. MelForbes 00:04, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm presuming Tharkun introduced this section for a bit of light relief - seems it was a wasted effort :-( "Even atlases that are used in Irish schools do not use the term." Er, not true. One publisher of an Irish edition of an atlas will remove the term 'British Isles' from its next edition. Irish school atlases from when I was in school and for many years before, and up to my own daughter's primary school atlas used, and still use, the geographical term 'British Isles'. Atlases using the term will be in Irish classrooms for many a year to come, because (thankfully, says my wallet!) they're not a book that changes every year. Bastun 23:08, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Oh don't be so despondant! And it is true! Irish Student's Atlas by Elenor Butler M.A. , Educational Company of Ireland Limited, which was the major atlas (60 pages of maps) used by second level students in the 1960's and 1970's in Ireland, does not mention the term British Isles. On the relevant map page the caption is, Ireland, Great Britain and North Sea. Check it out for yourself. MelForbes 00:08, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Ireland is not British, so it cannot be a British Isle. This is a no-brainer. — I assume the last part of that refers to the assertion. I can't find any references to Ireland being a British Isle; indeed I can't find any references to any single island being called a British Isle. The assumption that because the names British Isles has the word British in it, then everything covered by the name is claimed by the United Kingdom is is bad logic. The same argument means that much of the United Kingdom's western coastline forming part of the Irish Sea is part of the republic of Ireland. I agree, of course, that calling Ireland a British isle is factually incorrect. Bazza 08:55, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Bazza, I had not read this when I wrote my comment "I think we are in agreement here" below. So you and I come to the same conclusion. -- Evertype· 15:24, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

I suppose the problem is that some people feel they are so danged RIGHT about what the word British means that they have to cause this foolish ruckus so incessantly. Worldwide, groups of islands typically have a name. Off the west coast of the European mainland there is a big group of islands. "The British isles" has been a name given to them for many centuries, long before the Lordship of Ireland indeed, and so it should not in itself be considered offensive. -- Evertype· 10:49, 15 October 2006 (UTC) (who lives in Co. Mayo in the Republic of Ireland.

  • Comment; Evertype, if you consider yourself living on a British Isle, then that is your belief, nor I will call you a fool either. Many people would differ from your assertion, and are entitled to be heard too. My substantive point was to state in the article the fact that Ireland is sometimes included, and it is a fact. Cheers. MelForbes 13:14, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I mean your first sentence contians the essence of the 'problem' here; Bazza's point also hints on it. Namely, its that some people think that by calling Ireland part of the British Isles, we are calling it a British isle, and so are uncomfortable with it; some think that by saying it's in the British Isles, does not necessairily make it a British isle (a reasonable point but, the problem is, that outsiders who do not know the geopolitical history of the isles would get rightly confused by this); a smaller minority think that if it's in the British Isles then it is a British isle, but that does not necessairily make it 'British' in the sense of 'of the United Kingdom' (again, a reasonable stance to have in theory, but one that wilfully ignores misinterpretations of your own language.) And then there are those who think that words don't have set meanigns and frankly, everyone can use them in the way that they want, just as long as you don't deliberatly or knowingly offend someone ;) --Robdurbar 11:41, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I think we are in agreement here. To say that something is a British island does certainly imply that it belongs to the government of the United Kindgom in some sense. To say that something is a British isle to me means nothing at all because I don't think that term is used in English. It isn't a natural phrase that one would apply to Iona or Lewis. much less than Britain or Ireland. The term the British Isles as a plural is a geographical term, not a political term, and has been throughout the historical use of the term. Perhaps a non-polemic historical discussion would be valuable. -- Evertype· 15:22, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
To you the misnomer British Isles may be purely a geographical term, however that is not the case to many people including the Irish government, who view the term as political. If the term is purely geographical then why are the Channel Islands included by political convention and why aren't the Faroes included Iolar Iontach 13:30, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Here we go again. If the government is so set against the term, and it is NEVER used, the someone please tell the people involved in government to stop using it. This link shows it is indeed used by members of the government, in a strictly geographical sense, and in offical minutes and reports of the Seanad. Those results are solely from the official government of Ireland site Ben W Bell talk 14:24, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Here we go again. Do you care to point out where the word never was used? Do you care to give a reason why the Channel Islands are generally included in the term and why the Faroes rarely are? Perhaps, oh just perhaps - this offensive misnomer isn't purely geographical. I pointed out actual goverment policy regarding useage of the misnomer. It is flawed logic to allude to government endorsement of a term just because a few members of the Oireachtas have used it. Ireland is not a police state; people can used incorrect, antiquated terms if they so desire, however this does not validate same. Iolar Iontach 14:53, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
So what you're saying, is you don't want the term to be applied to Ireland or its islands, and are happy to suppress information that doesn't conform to that view? 'Cause that's sure what it sounds like you are saying. -- Evertype· 18:32, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
That is essentially Department of Foreign Affairs policy, not neccessarily what I want. To me the term never includes Ireland, due primarily to my understanding of the modern English language and that it is not recognised by either of the sovereign governments to include Ireland.Iolar Iontach 18:51, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Really, Iolar? Take a look at the British prime minister's website: - as you can see, their definition of the British Isles certainly includes Ireland. And logic implies that the Irish government's definition does as well: otherwise they would not have any grounds to object to the term and proscribe its use.--Stonemad GB 08:55, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Oh touché. Touché. Ben W Bell talk 10:28, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
The term is not recognised by the Irish government.{This anonymous comment made by user with IP
Also, the British government can't even get the name of Ireland right. The Irish Republic hasn't existed for about 90 years (and never in an official context); it's no wonder it's geographically confused. A reference that has incorrect terminology re the actual name of a neighbouring country has very little, if any validity. Absolutely incredible.
Geographical, political... these are certainly not the only two options we could use when defining a term. How about cultural? If we are talking about a cultural similarity, then the Channel Islands deserve a place in the British Isles, whereas the Faroes don't. To the ancients, whilst primarily geographical, the term British Isles was derived from the name of an ethnic culture that existed in the islands, namely that of the Insular Celts. And in any case, didn't the Good Friday Agreement set up some multi-layered council with representatives from all the states (sovereign or otherwise) in the British Isles, which included representatives from the various Channel Islands governments? But not the Faroes? TharkunColl 15:36, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
À propos the Channel Islands, who said that they are considered part of the British Isles? The article gives a footnote which is not actually a reference; it simply states that it is "conventional". Is it? I'll mark that for citation. -- Evertype· 18:32, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I think very much of the above qualifies as original research. It does not matter what we think or understand: verifiable, reliable references are what are important. It would be nice if some of the people most keen on fiddling around with this page would actually make a substantial contribution to the encylcopaedia, you know, with references and things rather than pushing personal agendas. MAG1 21:27, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

By the way, removing the name of the article from the article is just silly, and confusing: for example, there is a banner at the top of the history section leading to the History of the Orkney Islands article, and then a paragraph starting The islands ... First mention, at least in each section needs to be the full name, euphemisms later where they do not make things obscure.

Incidentally, there is not a single verifiable source where British Isles is used in a political sense i.e. meaning British jurisdiction over the whole island group. I am sure that they exist, but I can't see any at the moment.

Incidentally, one for fact fans: if you are wondering what is the difference between island and isle, away from the lala lands of politics and legal texts, the former is from Old English, the latter from Latin via Old French and apparently only used poetically or with proper nouns (as in you know what); however, the silent s in island is only from the influence of isle. MAG1 21:49, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Well the name of the article ought to be changed to reflect the reality of the current situation i.e. the repugnance felt by many people regarding Ireland being a so-called constituent of the British Isles. How about the Irish Islands or perhaps the Emerald Isles which is much more poetic? Can we also stick to the three revert rule please? Oh and if you wish to view the term being used in a political sense then take a look at the Daily Mail website and search for British Isles Folens Atlas and you will see several jingoistic comments left re that article referring to the British Isles as a country. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

If this is aimed at me, then 1) Read Wikipedia policy on naming pages. Encyclopaedias describe things as they are not how they ought to be. 2) Emerald Isles is rather lovely, but not widely used. I rather like Heylin's description for British Isles + Iceland, Faeroes &tc, the Isles of the Ocean, but again not widely used. Interestingly enough the islands are named after the Celtic inhabitants, but language has shifted since. 3) I have never breached the three revert rule- you can check my contributions if you like. 4) If that is true then fine, lets see the references in the article. I don't like to pollute my mind with the contents of The Daily Mail anymore than is strictly necessary, but nope, nothing that says that the British Isles is a single country. The article on the atlas states explicitly that Ireland became a republic in 1949. Sensible, explicit refs please. I would be surprised if you could not dig something up from Northern Ireland. 5) Have the courtesy to sign your comments. MAG1 23:14, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Clearly you have not read the comments regarding the article, there are 28 of them; you also had a string of changes within a 30 minute period on 16/10/2006. Have the courtesy to sign my comments? Like you have? Is MAG1 your real name? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

1) I try to keep up with them, but they seem to be dominated by a few people (in fact I think it may be as few as three) who seem to think that everyone should fit in with their point of view. One upshot of the discussion is that archipelago is an inaccurate description. 2) 3RR refers to reverting the same information three times within 24 hours, not the number of separate edits in 24 hours. In fact it is more transparent to make several separate edits than one big one (and easier for people to change back as well, if that is what they want). 3) The point about signing is again transparency: anyone can see my edits, if I do breach 3RR it can be plainly seen, if I make personal attacks I can be held responsible, and it enables sensible conversations to take place. Many anon IPs make serious contributions to the encyclopaedia, however a few use it as a means to evade these policies. MAG1 12:56, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Your understanding of 3RR is flawed, perhaps you should peruse the 3RR policy again. Also, the 28 comments regarding the article refer to the Daily Mail article, which were left on the Daily Mail site by British residents. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Right, lets stop the reverts, or I'll protect the page.
Secondly, a discussion has been had above which kinda came to the conclusion that British Isles/these isles/the islands/the archipalego should be spread relatively equally around the article; it generally improves readability to not have the same phrase over and over again (in an article on a person, the name would not be used everytime - you'd throw in "he" or "she" now and again). There were a few problems with 'archipalego', so it has been suggested that this should be used fairly sparsely.
Thirdly, the 3RR - jsut so we know - states that you must not revert in whole or in part any edit by another user more than 3 times in 24 hours; so you don't have to revert the same point, and you don't have to revert someone in full; however, multiple small edits that in effect act as one edit would just be considered as one. Robdurbar 15:09, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Quite, and just so no one is deceived into wrong ideas by Mr/s Mysterious of Dublin, the mix of terms was maintained- there was not some sort of wholesale replacement of terms, and an explanation (based on readability) provided here. it would be nice if everyone stayed within the rules, especially WP:V and WP:NPOV.

I do also take people's comments seriously, but even though random comments on a newspaper's website are far from reliable, even on the Daily Mail they do not imply that there is some sort of sovereignty over Ireland. One even lifts text from this article. MAG1 22:18, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

MAG1 I've read the reader comments on the Daily Mail article and at least 2 imply UK sovereignty over the archipelago and another refers to Ireland as a "British isle." I'm not going to use them here because of copyright concerns but they are visible on the newspaper concerned's website for all to see. Iolar Iontach 23:16, 19 October 2006 (UTC)


For all Great Britain and Ireland coverage of Samaritans see [1]. Interestingly enough, one of their regions crosses the Welsh border. Whether they use the term or not is neither here nor there: this is an article about a collection of islands off the north-west of Europe: bits of rock with people on them, not a jumble of letters. Some organisations are organised over the whole group of islands, and this is therefore the place to mention them. MAG1 23:14, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

and sometimes Ireland

  • Great Britain, (and sometimes Ireland), and several thousand smaller surrounding islands and islets form an archipelago off the northwest coast of continental Europe which is most commonly known as the British Isles.
    ......How about the above edit to reflect both points of view in the opening statement! The statement would therefore be more to the truth in the matter, although I can see some editors getting offended. MelForbes 15:58, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that the article is about the group of islands not the term itself. The opening paragraph should describe whats in the article and the article doesn't include Ireland only some of the time.
Its an odd opening paragraph anyway. Instead of starting with
British Isles (also sometimes called the Anglo-celtic Isles or Isles of the North Alantic).

it has this odd construct that only uses the name British Isles and relegates it the the end of the paragraph. Prehaps if we included some of the other relevent terms people would start seeing it as an article about the islands instead of a place to bitch about the term. josh (talk) 16:28, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

That the term 'British Isles' includes Ireland is not a point of view, it is a verifiable fact, as shown in thousands of atlases, encyclopedias, academic references and 99.9% of usage of the term. That the term is used on very rare occasions not including Ireland is also true, but not relevant. The term 'Europe' is occasionally used not to include the British Isles, but this doesn't change the fact that the British Isles is part of Europe, by long-standing and virtually universal convention. If these conventions change, Wikipedia should reflect that, but trying to engineer such a change is not what Wikipedia is for. This is not a matter of getting offended: it is about Wikipedia reflecting realities, not people's wishes (however justified they might be).--Stonemad GB 16:29, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Ye, a lot of these atlases are old, and many are copied from older atlases to avoid copyright infringement. Also there are many atlases which do not mention the term either. Sometimes would be a good compromise between the old and the new. MelForbes 16:40, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Mel, if you can find me an atlas that shows the term 'British Isles' as not including Ireland, I will eat my keyboard! There is no evidence that your definition of British Isles is replacing the commonly accepted definition, so its inclusion, especially in the lead para, would be completely disproportionate.--Stonemad GB 16:50, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
"Great Britain, (and sometimes Ireland)... form an archipelago ... which is most commonly known as the British Isles" Sorry Mel, I think it's a very clumsy contruct. What does Ireland do the rest of the time, sail off down to the Med for some sun? Bastun 17:08, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Love your precis writing, you are in for trophies there, that's after Stonemad GB has to defecate all those keyboards, ouch! Have the Channel Island popped away this las few years, seismic trouble or Anglo-French relations? Well it could be rephrased a weeny bit. MelForbes 17:44, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I think the issue here Mel, is that you would have to provide with a decent number of sources that explicitly use the term 'British Isles' to exclude Ireland (as in RoI) but include Northern Ireland. Furthermore, we'd need at least one or two of these to be 'official'; or rather from sources that can we can confidently say would have intentionally used the term in that way, and not go confused over it.

I know we've had some sources showing that before, but I'm simply not convinced that this use is 'that' common. It is already mentioned in the lead - proabbly justly - but I think people are more likely to not use 'British Isles' all together, rather than use it just to mean the UK (+IoM).

As for the intro; it was written as a compromise to people who disliked the article beginning "The British Isles = GB + Ireland" (or words to that affect). I like Josh k's suggestion of: The British Isles (also sometimes called the Anglo-Cceltic Isles or Isles of the North Alantic) are... Robdurbar 08:04, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Well Rob, here's just one that I've found which is taken from Goldsmiths College Faculty of History and another from the BBC. I agree that the term British Isles is less likely to be used at all; either on its own or with the addition of and Ireland. There was a quote from a Department of Forign Affairs spokesperson in the British media re Folens Atlas which referred to the term as a misnomer and antiquated - I would imagine that would be the view of a majority of Irish people i.e. from Ireland, not British people from Northern Ireland Iolar Iontach 12:10, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Josh and RobDubar's suggestion, quote The British Isles (also sometimes called the Anglo-Cceltic Isles or Isles of the North Alantic) are... unquote is quite a balanced intro to the term, and of course Britain and Ireland. And i suggest that it could be worked into the article. MelForbes 12:53, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't think this proposed phrase is balanced, because it gives the impression that IONA and A-C Isles are commonly used, when in reality their use is very unusual, and 99.9% of people would never have heard of the terms.--Stonemad GB 16:32, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Saying "British Isles and Ireland" does not mean that one is actually using a definition which excludes Ireland from the British Isles. It means one is trying not to offend Irish people. It is redundant usage, not an actual example of "British Isles" meaning something else. john k 13:07, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Just as saying British Isles doesn't mean that one is including Ireland, which would be a conclusion that a lot of people would draw upon hearing that term. Why? you ask, um well primarily because in modern useage of the English language the word British does not apply to Ireland. How is British Isles and Ireland redundant? British Isles to include Ireland is a misnomer. Iolar Iontach 13:20, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
How is British Isles and Ireland redundant? Um well, primarily because in modern useage of the English language the term 'British Isles' includes Ireland. To include it twice is ... well ... redundant.--Stonemad GB 16:32, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Well funnily enough my edition of the OED doesn't have an entry for the "British Isles," but it does have an entry for "British" and that definition doesn't include Ireland. I also have the definition of redundant at hand, perhaps with your new found understanding of a de facto official language of your country you will be able to look it up and explain to me how it applies to British Isles and Ireland (a term I'm not a fan of but that certainly doesn't make it redundant) Iolar Iontach 16:53, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Iolar, it is not the term that is redundant (it might be if the archipelago was destroyed) but the second inclusion of Ireland within the term. Its a bit like referring to 'North America and Canada'. PS - English is not one of the official languages of my country, either de facto or de jure.--Stonemad GB 18:22, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
To people with a rudimentary understanding of English and Ireland with the term British Isles is not redundant, as the adjective British does not include Ireland by default. Apologies, I thought that you were British because of your username. English is a de facto official language of the United Kingdom because that is the language in which the government conducts its business e.g. legislates; language of the courts etc., although it does not have an official language. The phrase de jure official language is redundant, however. Iolar Iontach 22:21, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
It would be a pretty ignorant person who insinuated that the adjective British included Ireland. But the point is, the term 'British Isles' does not mean 'isles that are British', and more than Sandwich Islands means islands made of sandwiches or 'legend' means the end of one's leg. Phrases are often more than the sum of their parts. --Stonemad GB 22:38, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
The point that many editors seem to be missing is that to many people (not some) that is what the term means and impies and therein lies the crux of the problem. One cannot say that this is an incorrect interpretation because that is what the implication is to a reasonable man. Any reasonable man would deduce that Sandwich Islands does not imply that the islands are made of sandwiches. Can you not understand this point? On an objective analysis of the term British Isles would it not be reasonable to believe that it means isles that are British? Iolar Iontach 22:57, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
How about the Canary Islands? I imagine there are loads of people who imagine them to be named after canaries, rather than the other way round. That's why we have encyclopedias, to point out such errors (rather than muddy the issue with political polemics). TharkunColl 23:01, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Iolar - for someone with no access to information sources, that would be a perfectly reasonable interpretation. But for everyone with access to atlases, encyclopedias etc there is no need for any interpretation, as the answer is there in black and white. Believe me, I quite understand your frustration. Personally I think it would be great if, say, 'British and Irish Isles' would replace the term. For an Irishman to be told by some ignorant American tourist that his country is in the British Isles and is somehow linked to the entity that Ireland struggled so long to be independent of must be toothgrindingly frustrating. But Wikipedia is here to represent present day useage of terms, not to act as a pressure-group for changes in use of those terms (however justified those changes might be). --Stonemad GB 23:12, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Personally, I don't really have much of a problem with the term (much as this may surprise you), it doesn't offend me, however I don't use it because I believe it to be a misnomer. In Ireland the reality is that the term is rarely used and does cause offence to many people. As you state: Wikipedia is here to represent present day useage of terms, presently the term is not used (mainly because of its political connotations) in Ireland and this should be reflected to a much greater extent in the article. Iolar Iontach 23:29, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
The problem though, is that Wikipedia is not written for an Irish (or British, or American) audiene. It's an international project with a worldwide audience. The article already does state, quite clearly, that the term is controversial or offensive to some in Ireland, and is rarely used here. Nonetheless, the rest of the world does use it, and uses it to mean 'the two big islands of the coast of mainland Europe, and lots of the little islands around them'. Bastun 23:50, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I would imagine that much more commonly used terms to refer to the archipelago as a whole are: Britain & Ireland; and UK & Ireland. For instance Lonely Planet uses UK & Ireland when referring to the archipelago. Of course they are factually inaccurate but one could argue that British Isles is aswell, and factaul inaccuracy does not mean that these terms are not used. These alternatively used terms are given no prominence in the article. Iolar Iontach 00:07, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
To many people the British Isles do not include Ireland, and that's a fact of life that some British Wikipedians find difficult to grasp. So the British Isles is really a whole load of POV. If one is British, they are likely to include Ireland. If one is Irish, they are very very likely to exclude Ireland. And the rest of the world doesn't give a 4x. How WP represents that reality is important in this instance. MelForbes 00:20, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment David Lloyd George falls into the category of those who did not include Ireland in the term when he was PM of the UK, and the Irish have been accused of revisionism - LOL. See infra British perspectives on Ireland's inclusion in the term Iolar Iontach 01:31, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

When were the "British" Isles ever joined to continental Europe?

The islands were not known by that term during prehistory. To use it to refer to that time appears to be an attempt at validating an objectionable term. The paragraph on prehistory requires modification; I believe that islands or island-group is nPoV and cannot understand the difficulty with this more accurate change. Iolar Iontach 18:54, 18 October 2006 (UTC) Addendum The fact that geographical terms are used to refer to prehistory in other wikipedia articles is not really relevant to this one, as this article concerns a contentious term that is not merely viewed as geographical e.g. the Channel Islands are included in this so-called geographical term by the States of Jersey government, yet they are not geographically part of the archipelago. That's political, maybe cultural, but certainly not geographical. Iolar Iontach 19:01, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

As Evertype pointed out, it's not an archipelago, parts of the Hebrides might be! MelForbes 19:12, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Iolar - No term was known by a present-day name during pre-history. The logic of your position is that no names should be used for anything when referring to pre-historic times. This is obviously absurd. Have a look at the Ireland article: "Ireland was mostly ice-covered and joined by land to Britain and continental Europe during the last ice age." Do you object to this too? You should, if your position is based on logic rather than POV.
All geographical terms are contentious and political. The States of Jersey has no power to define the British Isles. Nor does the British or Irish government. Nobody has the power to define the British Isles, as it is not a legal or offical term. It is a geographic label, and whether or not it is applied to Sark, or Rockall, or the Goodwin Sands, is essentially a matter of pedantry. Look at Europe: its eastern boundary is essentially arbitrary (political, cultural and hotly contested) yet few would deny it is a geographic term.--Stonemad GB 20:17, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
All geographical terms are contentious and political. What a ludicrous statement. To state that the misnomer British Isles is a geographic label is equally ridiculous, it's a political term. Could you point out what the bone of contention is with the Alps or River Shannon or denudation please? Also, the primary meaning of the word archipelago in the OED, which I have available to me at work is: island group. Iolar Iontach 11:31, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the problem that some had with archipalego is that it originated specifically to refer to isolated island groups AND their local seaa, typically in the Pacific. I don't see a problem with it here massively, as it has come to mean 'island group' in general, but there's no need to overdo either, I think.
As for this whole geographical political thing; I'm afraid, Iolar, that there is no more basic truth to geography than to say that all geographical terms are political. The fact is that the term can be used in BOTH a geographical and political way; but, in reality, these are not two things that can be seperated from each other into nicely portioned boxes anyway. See Critical Geopolitics (born, coincidentally, out of the experiences of someone who grew up in the Northern Ireland/Ireland border region). --Robdurbar 15:13, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Not being a geography undergraduate myself could somebody please explain what the political signifcance of such geographical terms like: denudation; continental drift; river; and water cycle? I would be grateful. Iolar Iontach 15:26, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Okay then, I'll start with "river". This purely geographical feature is often used to mark political boundaries. TharkunColl 15:29, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I didn't request information re the political significance of rivers, I requested an explanation of the political significance of the geographical term river, since, after all, all geographical terms are political; one would assume that this is not a very arduous task. Iolar Iontach 15:35, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Okay then, to split hairs - the political significance of the geographical term river is that political boundaries are often defined by reference to, and a description of, geographical rivers. TharkunColl 15:38, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Very clever. I should indicated that by geographic terms I meant terms that refer to places; I would have thought that given the context that was quite obvious. I think, Tharkun, you're missing Iloar's critcism of the point - the term 'river' probably isn't that contested (although, you'd probably be surprised. Imagine if an Enlgish person started referring to 'Lake' Neagh) --Robdurbar 15:40, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
NP Rob, it may have been clearer if the operative words all geographical terms hadn't been used by both you and Stonemad GB and had been replaced by all toponyms. Iolar Iontach 15:47, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for coming up with the correct word, Iolar: toponym. But you haven't addressed the point, which is that all toponyms are political and cultural terms: there is no such thing as a 'neutral' name for anything.--Stonemad GB 16:32, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Fair dos (I was trying to think of that word but it didn't come to me and I got bored waiting to remember it). But all this nonesense is missing the point; essentially, I agree with you Iolar, that it is a political term and that the article should reflect that; equally it should not deny that it can be used geographically. But look, I'm getting a bit confused with all this aruging - what changes or improvements to the article are we discussing here? --Robdurbar 15:51, 19 October 2006 (UTC)


The problem with Pretani is that there were very few of them in Ireland, and Pytheas was referring to the Pretani around Cornwall. The article gives the impression that the Pretani were dominant in both "Britain and Ireland", which is not correct. The ref, "Isles of the Prettanike", even though it's 3500 years old and dug up, is a false description, especially concerning Ireland where the q-Celtic (Gaelic) culture was dominant, whereas Britain was p-Celtic, and it was not a culturally homogeneous area. Can anyone better this paragraph? MelForbes 09:32, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Your statement about what Pytheas was referring to appears to be unsourced and conflicts with the statement of Donnchadh O Corrain, Professor of Irish History at University College Cork. given here. As for numbers in Ireland, the period in question is very uncertain: the "few" seems to relate to Cruithne in the early Christian era. The paragraph looks accurate. ...dave souza, talk 10:36, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Thank you, DS - at last, a useful citation on this point! But it's not in fn.4, which just refers to Pytheas and Diodorus without setting out what it was they were describing. I still think there's mileage on this point, but the O Corrain quote will do for now.--Shtove 16:01, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Pretty much the same point is made in Snyder, Christopher A. (2003). The Britons. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 063122260X. , while Encyclopedia of the Celts: Pretani was also quite helpful. ..dave souza, talk`
Much of the Celtic Invasion theories are being re-examined of late, with no consensus on the subject yet. O Corrain's analysis is open to similar scrutiny. I have added minor changes. MelForbes 12:06, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
"some" is problematic. It's more accurate to say that Priteni is a Gallo-Brythonic term, adopted by the ancient Greeks to refer to the inhabitants of the αι Βρεττανιαι, the Brittanic Isles, which included both Ireland and Britain. ..dave souza, talk 15:10, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Shtove, I've given you references for classical use twice already. For the third time, for Ptolemy see here [2], and for Pliny, here [3] (book 4, para 102 onwards), but in Latin only, which is not one of my languages I am afraid. You can actually find images of pre-17th century maps which use the equivalent of British Isles in Latin and French can be seen here [4].

From what I have read, the modern view is that there was no Celtic invasion as in a wholesale replacement of population. In fact, now the whole idea of genocidal invasions seems to have fallen out of favour and replaced by elite replacement and cultural transmission. MAG1 22:29, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Some other wiki's entry

  • Take a look at this [5] --MelForbes 14:09, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Looks familiar. "The Television Wiki is based off of the Wikipedia project. Further revisions have been made in order to enhance the articles for tv fanatics. However, because is so new, we need some great original content. Please register and chip in!" So what's the problem? ...dave souza, talk 15:10, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I had to laugh when I read the bit that said, "This is not a result of anti-British sentiment" - judging by the remarks made by some of the editors here, nothing could be further from the truth! In the real Wikipedia, a phrase like that would be expunged as POV within seconds. And if it's not a silly question, why have such a lengthy article on the British Isles in a Wiki devoted to TV? TharkunColl 15:16, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
So what's the problem? Who is talking about problems? Well, it does have a more refreshing upbeat style. The WP article seems a bit stuck in the 1950's. TharkunColl, really!. MelForbes 15:31, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Delighted you like it. Looks very much like a mirror of this article from a long time ago, the disambiguation at the top looks rather better, though not the second line about the rugby team.. ...dave souza, talk 18:41, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment. I never said I liked the content. I like some of it, but would edit some too. What I said was, that it was written in a more upbeat style. I like the relaxed tempo of the writing. I see your comment (before your re-edit) about an Irish problem, well it might well be a British problem too. -MelForbes 18:56, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Guess we'd all edit some bits. And with luck peace will break out and render these old clichés obsolete! ..dave souza, talk 19:04, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Nothing really, I just wondered why they had an article like that at all. TharkunColl 15:34, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Being pro-Irish does not equate to anti-British sentiment, and is rather simplistic. Iolar Iontach 15:40, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment. I will second that. Born in Britain of mixed pedigree and Ireland now my home, it seems to me that the accusation of being anti-British is a weapon that some editors will use in their argument. It's a weapon of last resort, and a rather weak one at that. -MelForbes 15:52, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Well I've never used it - despite being called a racist, an imperialist, and an ignoramus. TharkunColl 15:53, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Some of the editors here take every opportunity they can to slag off the British and our alleged (but in reality totally non-existent) imperialistic attitudes, which really only serves to weaken their case. TharkunColl15:44, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Hang on - I thought they didn't have a case to begin with??--Shtove 17:22, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps the people of Iraq should have Britain's totally non-existent, imperialistic attitudes explained to them. That would be an interesting polemic. Iolar Iontach 15:57, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. I rest my case. TharkunColl 17:36, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, yes world opinion is wrong and to argue argainst an illegal occupation and the reasons for it is anti-British sentiment, despite the fact that a majority of British hold a similar view. I wish the world that I live in were as black and white, actually on second thoughts perhaps not; it seems a bit crude. I'm off to spray paint a few walls with "Up the Ra" and "Brits Out" now. Iolar Iontach 23:47, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Political Useage of the Term

Certain editors clearly have an agenda when it comes to political useage of the term and are attempting to circumvent this reality. The term is used politically and to claim that it is not, or to allude to it not being used in this way, either by stating that the term is purely geographical or via an ommission is blatant PoV. Everytime evidence of political useage of the term is produced the goalposts are substantially moved. It appears that the burden of proof is much greater to show evidence of political use than it is for so-called geographical useage. How does anybody know that an organisation is using the term in a geographical sense and not a political sense? The addition of the disclaimer: The British Isles is a geographical term means absolutely nothing if the organisation using same has been culturally and/or politically influenced to use it, just as I (as an Irish person) have been politically and culturally influenced not to use the term the British Isles. I am reverting the article to state that the Channel Islands are sometimes included by political convention. Iolar Iontach 16:38, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Can any of you guys actually look up a definition; it's used on a political website which is kind of a given since it's a government website. Politics concerns what again? Of course its evidence of political useage!! Iolar Iontach 16:59, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Just because something is used on a political website doesn't mean its use is political. The statement "Kent is located to the southeast of London" isn't a political usage, and neither is the usage on the site of "Jersey is the most southerly island of the British Isles". It's a simple geographic usage, like saying Great Britain is in Europe, or Canada is in the northern hemisphere. There is quite a difference between something being used as a term by a political body and a term being used as political. Ben W Bell talk 17:07, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Ben, British Isles reeks with political overtones and undertones. The term is actually written into British law, and alluded to quite a bit. New British legislation avoids using the term, and now uses the term British Islands. Why are the Faroe Islands not included, the are in the same archipelago? Political? --MelForbes 19:06, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
MelForbes: I am surprised to hear that the term 'British Isles' is written into British law, certainly in the last century. Would you have any references or examples for this?--Stonemad GB 22:52, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Technically Mel is correct as it is used in the The Education (Listed Bodies) Order, 1997 (UK) when referring to a theological 3rd level institution that contains the term "British Isles," but I don't think it has been contained in any UK statutes as a term, legal; political; geographical or otherwise since, I believe the Interpretation Act, 1978 was implemented. However, the Isle of Man government uses it in official government addresses, which it could be argued is further evidence of political useage, as addresses are political constructions rather than geographic. Iolar Iontach 00:33, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
That's not what is being discussed here though. What is being discussed is that the reference quoted was claimed to use it as a political reference, when it is being used as a geographical reference. Is it used in other places as a political reference, quite possibly, I don't know I haven't gotten involved in these discussions, but not in this instance that is being discussed. Ben W Bell talk 19:27, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
How on earth can it be a geographical reference? Geographically, the Channel Islands are not constituents of the archipelago. This is quite simple really: on the website concerned it cannot possibly be a geographical reference. Iolar Iontach 22:14, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the most likely explanation is that the person writing the website was not aware of the grey areas around the boundaries of the term 'British Isles' (it is an obscure topic to say the least, and a pretty meaningless one as the term does not denote any status other than geographic) and used it mistakenly. Possibly they confused it with British Islands. As you will know, the terminology for this island group is famously confusing. There are many possible explanations, and it is pretty pointless to speculate on them. But I think that to suppose that the front page of the Jersey governmental information portal is being used to demonstrate that there is a political convention in the Channel Islands that they should be included in the label 'British Isles' in the next edition of school atlases is pretty unlikely. --Stonemad GB22:30, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Ignorance of toponyms and British legal terminology (from the Interpretation Act) is irrelevant here. When the Channel Islands are included in the term it is evidence of it being used in a political manner, whether intentional or not. Iolar Iontach 22:37, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

The Channel Isles flit into and out of definitions of the British Isles: their inclusion does not necessarily imply soem sort of political scheme. In the original English (language) reference to the British Isles (Peter Heylin's Microcosmus, a piece of historical geography), they were included, but only because Heylin could not think of where else to put them (he says this). Just to remind everyone, he used the name 'British Isles' after the ancient Britons, not to make some sort of imperialistic point (which he was only too glad to make elsewhere): its coining, at least, is therefore not a misnomer, and as yet there are no references to its use as a political term in the way that it implies some sort of modern British sovereignty over the whole island group. I would have thought it would be possible to dig something up- anyone looked at DUP stuff? By the way, it's not a legal term so there is going to be a variety usage and definitions.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the Faroe Islands are not included because there is no overlap with the rest of the isles geologically, naturally, culturally, or politically. MAG1 22:43, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Nobody has stated that political useage implies a political scheme, did Heylin not think to include them as geographic parts of France? That would be the first place that I would think of, primarily because that's where they are, but being a mere lawyer, geography is clearly beyond me. Again, just because someone claims (or even believes) that they are using the term in a geographical sense does not make it so. Iolar Iontach 22:50, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Given that the article currently states: 'The term British Isles is in widespread use, and is defined as "Great Britain and Ireland and adjacent islands". However the term carries additional meanings; political, economic, cultural, geopolitical, legal and cultural'

I actually wonder what anyone's problem is? There it is in plain English - the term is political/but also geographical (and others). --Robdurbar 07:06, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

That statement is buried in the article, the average person's attention span wouldn't be long enough to reach the point where it is raised. Up until that point one is led to believe that it is a mere, inoccuous geographic term which clearly circumvents the reality of the situation. Just as the reality that the Channel Islands are included by political convention has been circumvented, and the Faroes have been left out because as MAG1 says there is no political overlap. The sentence also has factual problems; it isn't a legal term and carries no legal meanings, as the Irish government has stated. Iolar Iontach 11:10, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Before the article proper even starts, there's a note saying "The term "British Isles" can be confusing and is objectionable to some people, particularly in Ireland [1]. See the Terminology section below for details of the controversy." So readers are alerted immediately to the 'controversy', get a footnote outlining aspects of it and a whole section discussing the terminology, suggested alternatives in use and not, whys and wherefores... That's plenty of advertisment, for those who are seeking info on the 'controversy', or those who aren't but who stumble on it and find it interesting. And those just seeking info on the generality of the British Isles can ignore that (or not, as they see fit) and read the rest of article. Bastun 12:16, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Let's face some facts here. If one is Irish, then Ireland is not included. If one is Northern Irish (e.g. a Unionist), then Ireland is included. Both sets of people live on the island of Ireland, and somehow both sets must be accommodated. That's where the wording of the article comes into play. To say Ireland is included is a POV to many, and to say it is not included is a POV to others. It must be remembered that Ireland is not a British Isle. But some would argue that Northern Ireland is British, and others would argue strongly against that view. Therefore my position is that Ireland is sometimes included, depending on ones point of view, and that the term first of all is a political term, and secondly a geographical term. To say it's not political is indulging in POV too. MelForbes 14:01, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
And around we (all!) go again with the same circular arguments. And PoV, not "facts". "If one is Irish, then Ireland is not included." - according to you. "If one is Northern Irish (e.g. a Unionist), then Ireland is included." - according to you. (And I'm sure there are plenty of Unionists whose distaste for all things RoI would lead them to say it isn't included ;-) ). It must be remembered that Ireland is not a British Isle. Again - according to you. Not a British island, certainly, but there are millions of citeable examples of... - ah, why am I being drawn into this. If I take this page off my watchlist and come back a year from now, the archive will have tripled in length and exactly the same arguments will be going on. Bastun 14:26, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
And that's because the arguments are real. My references above are generalities. And just in case it hasn't clicked yet, that's what Wikipedia is about. MelForbes 17:30, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

British perspectives regarding Ireland's inclusion in the term

Apparently, The Rt Hon. David Lloyd George didn't agree that Ireland was included in the term the British Isles during his time as prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland when he wrote the follwing to Éamon de Valera in 1921: "The geographical propinquity of Ireland to the British Isles is a fundamental fact." For those of you unfamiliar with the word propinquity, it doesn't mean constituent of, part of or inclusion in. Iolar Iontach 01:01, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

We've had this before. Lloyd George - the "Welsh Wizard" - was a wily old politician, and if he chooses to use what even in those days was a rare word like "propinquity" he is obviously doing so for a very good reason (hint: who is he writing to?). Propinquity does indeed carry connotations of spatial proximity, but it also carries connotations of kinship and identity. In short, Lloyd George was being deliberately ambiguous. TharkunColl 08:12, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Propinquity still does not imply that he believed Ireland to be a part of the British Isles. There is no ambiguity there. It can mean proximity or kinship but not part of. Anyway, how can the term be used to refer to Northern Ireland excluding the republic, at such time is the republic floating around the Pacific? When Lloyd George used the quote in question the republic didn't exist, thus he was referring to the island of Ireland. I am thus modifying the introduction to reflect this; the quote is easily referenced it's from an article calle "The doctrine of self-determination and the Irish move to independence, 1916-1922" by Bill Kissane (Dept of Government, London School of Economics), Journal of Political Ideologies. When I attempted to reference it in the article, it distorted it and it was unreadable. Iolar Iontach 10:54, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
A quote from a single individual is meaningless, especially one of such ambiguity. And I agree, incidentally, that to include just NI in British Isles is ludicrous - the term includes the whole of Ireland. TharkunColl 10:59, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
He was the PM!! The phrase unambiguously excludes Ireland from the term. Iolar Iontach 11:13, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
He was PM, but he was not stating law or even government policy. He was writing to the leader of the Irish independence movement, which should at least give pause for thought as to just what, precisely, he was intending to say - and despite your assertion, there is a very real ambiguity in his words. Can you provide the rest of the letter please? TharkunColl 11:21, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
As an Irish man whos lived in Britan for a few years I can say that this question never arrises to 99.99% of Britons. They don't care and have only a very vague knowledge of Ireland's existance at all, north or south. Before this I lived in Moscow, where it was hard to find someone who had heard of Ireland at all. They look at you confused and can't hear the difference between 'Ireland' and 'island'. I once saw a bureau de change selling "Iclandic Punt and Irish Kronar". My language teacher, an educated woman, point blank - would not accept that the Rebublic of Ireland was not part of the UK. She had learned it was in school. It made me think: What do we know about 'West Timor'. This whole issue of the British Isles is really very silly. Lord Seabhcán of Baloney 14:39, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
I think that's unfair and untrue. How can it be that most Britons hardly know of Ireland's existence, when we have been bombarded with almost daily news reports of violence and killings there for the best part of 40 years? Furthermore, the Irish population living in England is large, widespread, and integrated into the general community - in short, there are Irish people everywhere. There are also countless Irish people in the British media, ranging from comedians to politicians. I hasten to suggest that as far as most English people are concerned, the Irish are just as "foreign" or "alien" as the Scots or Welsh - i.e., not at all (and regardless of whether the feeling is mutual or not). TharkunColl 15:25, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
From my experience, British people (not just English) do know of a place called Ireland, and know it is somehow connected to terrorism, but honestly, that is where their interest and knowledge ends. This even includes people of Irish descent in Britan. I'm constantly running into 'Irish' people here who know nothing except that their father/grandfather/uncle came from 'Ireland'. Where in Ireland? When did they leave? Don't know. I was once verbally assaulted in a pub in London by an 'Irish' guy who complained that I used to bomb them, and now 'the towel heads' do. Geographical knowledge is not a strong point here. Lord Seabhcán of Baloney 15:40, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Ah, London. Yes, I can believe it now. TharkunColl 15:46, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
 :-)Its not just london, but maybe it is worse here. Lord Seabhcán of Baloney 16:44, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Not in the least surprised. The Irish government does nothing to promote the name Ireland. It puts Eire on it's stamps and coins and then one wonders why a Russian or a Mongolian does not know where Ireland is! Then they look at a map, and they see British Isles where Ireland should be and they immediately think of Her Loveliness the Queen, and Tony the Great.
What's that country again?
Where is it on the map? Oh thanks, is that Ireland? I thought it was Britain.
For the same reason, they think Scotland is somewhere is Canada and Wales is in Australia.MelForbes 15:16, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
No need to bother then. Wikipedia 'll put 'em all right. They're all in The British Isles - England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Arcturus 20:49, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
You forgot the Isle of Man and Cornwall! - Francis Tyers · 15:50, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

British Isles, not as popular as some would have us believe!

I did a little original research. I grabbed the following text from the map page, (unedited), and low and behold, the term British Isles doesn't even get a mention.


QED-MelForbes 21:54, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes it does. Just look a little further than the main page of these websites Arcturus 22:05, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Yup, you really had to search hard to find that one. Nice find!!! -MelForbes 22:11, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Granted though, NG do have "confusing" captions - "British Isles Political Map" then immediately underneath they state "Political map of Great Britain and Ireland." Arcturus 22:16, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Even on a Google map search of the British Isles, nearly all the maps are political. About 20% of them are geographical.MelForbes 22:48, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm not quite sure what the problem is here. You appear to believe that by showing "political" usage of the term British Isles, you can somehow invalidate the whole concept. Not so - the term exists in English, and has a specific meaning. It means Great Britain and Ireland, plus surrounding islands. TharkunColl 23:11, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you, it is a concept. The concept of the "British Isles" to include Ireland is only held by a few people nowadays, and those people are usually British. That concept is no longer recognised by general world opinion. And that's fact. MelForbes 00:43, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Bollocks, really. You want this to be the result, but the fact is that there are a bunch of islands to the west of continental Europe, and the only common name they have ever had historically is British Isles. They've had that name since long long long before the United Kingdom existed. And there's no common alternative name for this bunch of islands that has taken root in the consciousness of English speakers, or anyone else for that matter. And the term is not political, and has nothing to do with Irish dependence or independence. Indeed, the vituperativeness of the "British Isles cannot refer to Ireland" crowd is pretty darned ridiculous. Ireland's sovereignty is not threatened by the common use of the term "British Isles". Your (collective) POV is extrordinarily tiresome. This argument adds no value to the Wikipedia. I live in Ireland and am not a stooge for "British Imperialism". But this whole war is waged on the basis of a selective interpretation of linguistic facts. "British" means a lot of things. "British Isles" does not mean "Islands belonging to the United Kingdom". -- Evertype· 01:28, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Evertype, don't get so upset. Maybe you should meditate more often. Or even, like Alcock and Brown, you ran out of gas;) But they were often called the "British Isles" then. So Evertype, you now live on a "British Isle". Using foul and debased language in a direct response towards me only reveals the fragility of your argument. MelForbes 11:26, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
The term "British Isle" is incorrect, and is never used. "British Isles" is only ever found in plural form. It would be wrong and meaningless to say "Ireland is a British Isle" - the correct phrase would be "Ireland is part of the British Isles". TharkunColl 11:38, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
"Bollocks" isn't particularly foul or debased. It is quite a common term. "Nonsense" or "balderdash" or "poppycock" if you prefer. TharkunColl is right, and I also made this comment above: the term "a British Isle" is not a genuine term used anywhere in the English-speaking world. It is this false identification that is the cause of this interminable dispute. -- Evertype· 12:06, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment, the term "a British Isle" is not a genuine term used anywhere in the English-speaking world unquote. How about Google (which everyone is so fond of), = 708 hits. MelForbes 12:44, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Um, yes, 700 hits for "a British Isle", some coming from this Wikipedia discussion, some mis-parsed adjectival usages ("a British Isle explorer"). Compare the 7,140,000 hits for "British Isles". My point stands: in standard English, one does not say that "Britain is a British Isle", "Ireland is a British Isle", or "Iona is a British Isle"; the term isn't used in the singular. The term "the British Isles" refers to the whole grouping of thousands of islands, two of which are particularly large. -- Evertype· 12:58, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Excuse me, but Britain is a "British Isle". Please stop playing with words, it's really very silly. MelForbes 13:51, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Hear, hear, User:Evertype. Agree 100%. As an Irishman, I'm secure enough in my patriotism not to have an inferiority/paranoia complex that assumes the BI term is somehow an imperialist attempt by the UKoGB&NI to subsume Ireland; and at the same time I can still slag my British mates over "800 years" over a pint :-) I suggest that those who cannot accept the term British Isles as meaning Great Britain and Ireland could spend their time more productively editing the Britain and Ireland stub rather than attempting to change the commonly accepted meaning (albeit one objected to by some). Bastun 12:18, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
There have been no Irish editors editing this page today, Evertype is American, Thar is English and Bastun is British. Bastun is forever claiming some special knowledge of the debate due to the fact that he is Irish. It's a very silly point, and it carries little weight. Everytype is at the same silly level. MelForbes 12:25, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Xenophobia rears her ugly head again. I am an Irish citizen, MelForbes. I speak Irish. I know a good deal about linguistics and I am not the one trying to push a POV based on a mistaken notion that "British Isles" can be used in the singular. -- Evertype· 12:43, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Hey Evertype, I love Americans, they are one of my favourite people. It was you and Bastun who first tried to use the race card in this discussion, not me. Please read the relevant paragraphs. What can I say, pax;) MelForbes 13:51, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Untrue. There have been no Irish editors editing this page today, Evertype is American, Thar is English and Bastun is British. You said this. For my part I have more than one nationality. What distinction you make by labelling Thar as "English" and Bastun as "British" is obscure to me, but as far as I can see, you are the one who maintains that only a True Irish Editor can contribute reliably to this article. As a member of the community of speakers of the English language worldwide, only 4 million live in Ireland. Your unsubstantiated statement that the concept of the "British Isles" to include Ireland is only held by a few people nowadays, and those people are usually British is decidedly unproven, and is extraordinarily unlikely. Felicitous or infelicitous in light of the political history between the two islands, the term British Isles is the only commonly used term to designate the thousands of islands in this area. Your suggestions that Anglo-Celtic Isles has currency or is gaining it is wishful thinking at best. Enjoy your POV, but it doesn't help the Wikipedia be more informative. -- Evertype· 16:23, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment, Evertype, this page is not for trolling or for carrying out cloaked personal attacks on other editors. Please bring you quibbles to relevant user talk pages. MelForbes 17:37, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment, Melforbes, this page is not for trolling or for carrying out cloaked personal attacks on other editors. I am not British, as you are well aware from previous discussions. Dublin, born and bred. Bastun 20:09, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Mel is apparently claiming (on my talk page) that because I live on one of the British Isles, I am therefore British. *sigh* Cheap point-scoring. How he also equates that with me somehow not being Irish is beyond me. Bastun 20:29, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
One cannot be born on the British Isles. One can only be born on "a British Isle". A person cannot be born on 2 or more Islands. MelForbes 21:06, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. In the English language, one can be born in the British Isles. One can be born on an island in the British Isles. These distinctions are precise, and quite clear, if you understand what the wordd "isle", "isles", and "island" mean and if you understand how they are used. -- Evertype· 22:09, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
There you go again, another personal attack. Your inference is that I don't understand grammar. Well, a very pertinent question would be, "Which British isle was he born in/on?". And if born in Ireland, the answer would be, "He was born in Ireland". It's perfectly good English. MelForbes 22:31, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
I've made no personal attack, regardless of your suggestion. It is not a question of "understanding grammar". It is a question of understanding the common denotation and usage of words. The term "British Isles" is used as a collective noun, referring to thousands of bits of turf, two of which are quite large indeed. The term "British Isle" in the singular is not standard English usage. The question Which British Isle was he born in? is not a sensible question. Questions that make sense in the usual way in which these terms are used in English are "On which of the islands in the British Isles was he born?" In this sense "the British Isles" is a simple collective, like "the Philippines". "On which of the islands in the Philippines was he born?" But "Which British Isle was he born in?" is not perfectly good English. -- Evertype· 22:45, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
A personal attack? Of course you don't agree! I see you have misrepresented what I wrote by adding an "s" to "isle" in your quotation, well you don't fool me, thank you. You seem to have assumed upon yourself to be the authority on how one might use the word "isle". Simply, you don't have that authority on how the word "isle" is used, sorry! Which British isle was he born in? is perfectly good English, sorry again! Just because someone with your superior knowledge does not use it, does not mean that the ordinary mortal is wrong in using that wordage. The Philippines is very poor analogy as the word "isle" is not attached to that term, and how is one to know (without prior knowledge), that the Philippines are a bunch of islands. Evertype not everyone is as learned and as privileged as you are, and you should take that factor into account when you edit WP. MelForbes 23:28, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
"Which British Isle was he born in?" is not perfectly good English. If you consider my knowledge (of collective nouns and their use in English) to be superior, perhaps you would pause a moment and learn something. The problems we have with this article have to do with errors such as the one you make, where people assume that "British Isles" is the same thing as "British Islands" which it is not. -- Evertype· 01:08, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment The problems we have with this article have to do with errors such as the one you make, where people assume that "British Isles" is the same thing as "British Islands". That's a bit of a wild assertion to make; for a start why would one believe them to be the same? One is a specific legal term; the other is an antiquated toponym which has come to be a misnomer in modern English and has absolutely no official recognition in Ireland. BTW what on earth does proficiency in the Irish language have to do with the inaccurate nomenclature? Iolar Iontach 16:16, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
You took my little European joke seriously, LOL. No, I don't think your knowledge superior. To be perfectly frank with you, I consider your knowledge, from what I have read here, to be totally wooden and blind. There is a bewildering arrogance with you about "how English should be used"! The word "isle" is not a collective noun, and it can be used for a British isle, an Irish isle, an American isle etc. So if I spend my holidays on a Greek isle, you are telling me that I am speaking improper English. Oh dear! MelForbes 01:41, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
The word "isle" is not a collective noun, but the term "British Isles" most certainly is. If you say "a British isle" (note that "isle" here is uncapitalised, unlike in your previous posts) you could be referring to anything ranging from Bermuda to Pitcairn. This is because "isle", on its own, carries connotations of smallness. It would be a distortion of the language to call Great Britain "a British isle". And even when referring to Bermuda or Pitcairn, I suggest that most people would simply use "island" anyway, as "isle" has a somewhat archaic feel to it. TharkunColl 08:46, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Look at all this lovely unsued space on the left --Robdurbar 09:11, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Agree Rob, between space-waste and archiving, this one must be setting a record! MelForbes 10:29, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
Ha ha, you amateurs! Check out Talk:Adolf Hitler.
To be fair they are particularly obsesive about archiving. Although this talk page would win the going round in circles award hands down. josh (talk) 21:28, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

I do appreciate that Melforbes is probably rather upset at the setback at Dingle to the dictatorial edicts on language that he seems to favour, but it would be a welcome change if discussions on this talk page were to relate to properly sourced improvements to the article. Nuff said. ....dave souza, talk 23:52, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Comment. Touché Souzé, LOL, see you you havn't lost the auld touch. I am a firm believer in the old Chinese (?) proverb that the truth is many-sided. Dave, I agree with everyone on this page. I don't know much about Dingle, but if you insist, then I won't argue! Cheers!MelForbes 13:08, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Yeah. Take a vote in Dingle on whether they consider themselves part of the BRITISH Isles! (Sarah777 09:02, 23 October 2006 (UTC))

I guess if the facts of the matter were explained to them, the vast majority of Dingle people wouldn't have a problem with it. Arcturus 13:34, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

British Isles in Irish

This may have been covered befored - there was a brief period where we were looking at other languages - but is there a term for the British Isles in Irish? I'm not trying to prove/disprove anything by brigning this up, I'm just intrigued. Robdurbar 09:13, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

There is a bit in British Isles (terminology) on this. Perhaps it could be included in this article (though I suppose that would generate another few GigaBytes of discussion) ;) Rhion 10:46, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
To be honest, I wouldn't refer to the islands by one name in any language. The most common term in Irish would probably be: "An Bhreatain agus Éire," which is also the most commonly used term in English but funnily enough receives no mention in the article. It means "Britain and Ireland." There is another term which would be less commonly used and is Oileáin Iarthair Eorpa, it translates as West European Islands. Obviously, one could translate the misnomer into Irish as Oileáin Bhriotanacha, however I have never seen this phrase used. Iolar Iontach 14:58, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Well it seems a new user has been bold and gone ahead and added 'Britain and Ireland' into the first line! Actually, I think I'm broadly supportive of the changes made by 7T7. --Robdurbar 16:27, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
The phrase "Britain and Ireland" is not a name, but two names put together in a normal sentence. In fact, I think "UK and Ireland" is a lot more common. It's like saying that North America is also known as "USA and Canada". As for "Anglo-Celtic Isles", I'd like to see some very secure references for that one, because I've never come across it outside Wikipedia, and suspect that it's just made up. TharkunColl 16:35, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
For those too lazy to check:
In Irish, the term Oileáin Bhriotanacha is attested as a version of the English term 'British Isles'. The 1937 book Tír-Eóluíocht na h-Éireann ('The Geography of Ireland') by T. J. Dunne, translated by Toirdhealbhach Ó Raithbheartaigh and published in Dublin by the Government Publications Office, states: Tá Éire ar cheann de na h-oileáin a dtugar na h-Oileáin Bhreataineacha ortha agus atá ar an taobh Thiar-Thuaidh de'n Eóraip. Tá siad tuairim a's ar chúig mhíle oileán ar fad ann. (Oileánradh an t-ainm a bheirtear ar áit ar bith i n-a bhfuil a lán oileán agus iad i n-aice a chéile mar seo.) Éire agus an Bhreatain Mhór (Sasain, an Bhreatain Bheag, agus Alba) an dá oileán is mó de na h-Oileáin Bhreataineacha. 'Ireland is one of the islands which are called the British Isles and which are on the North-Western side of Europe. It is thought that there are five thousand islands in total there. (Archipelago is the name which is borne by a place in which there are many islands next to each other like these.) Ireland and Great Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland) are the two largest islands of the British Isles.'
-- Evertype· 16:58, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Mmm. Very interesting. I can only ever remember seeing Na hOileáin Bhriotanacha once, possibly from the same source. However, I work with the Irish language everyday and can attest, as can anyone working with the language that the term is never used in Irish, and if it is, it is so rarely used as to be negligible. The fact remains that that Na hOileáin Bhriotanacha is simply never heard or seen in print on a regular basis. Just because one author or one broadcaster, whether in Irish or English, decides to use this term does in no way mean that the term British Isles is used or deemed to be acceptable by the majority of the Irish people. 10:04, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Political intepretations aside, is there a term in Irish used to refer to the whole island group together? Bazza 13:56, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Political interpretations aside, no, there isn't an official, widely-used term in Irish referring to Ireland, Great Britain and surrounding islands as a geographic unit. I have the terminology database of An Coiste Téarmaíochta, the Terminology Committee of the Department of Education open in front of me and it has no official term conforming to "British Isles". I've also checked both Niall Ó Dónaill's and Dineen's Irish-English Dictionaries under "Breataineach", "Breatanach" and "Briotanach" to see if such a term as "Oileáin Bhriotanacha/Bhreataineacha" exists and have found nothing. Tomás de Bhaldraithe's English-Irish dictionary has no mention of "British Isles". However, under "oileán" (island) Dineen has "Oileáin Iarthair Eorpa, the British or West European Isles". The plates for this dictionary were laid out before 1904 when the first edition of the dictionary was published. Ireland back then, of course, was still ruled as a whole by the British. Ó Dónaill (1977) makes no mention of "Oileáin Iarthair Eorpa". An Muimhneach Machnamhach 10:59, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

"Islands off the west of Europe": is that a correct translation of the Dineen phrase? Nothing British there.--Shtove 22:53, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Compound word to compromise

Given that British Isles is not favoured by all, why not take the first sylable from "British" and the second from "Irish" and put them together consecutively for a new name for the islands? Dainamo Dainamo 17:30, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Or - he, he! - why not take the first syllable from "Irish" and the second from "British", then put them together? Why has no one thought of this? Inconceivable! And a thundering disgrace! You, sir, should be shot. Except, your're British, so no harm done - please accept a generous pension, paid for by others.--Shtove 00:53, 28 October 2006 (UTC)