Talk:Ireland (disambiguation)

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Disambiguation page

I'm currently working on articles for Ireland (the country) and Ireland (the island) (drafts on my sandbox, links from my userpage). I may also get started on Northern Ireland. The general intention, in order to avoid repetition, would be to keep things like geography, geology, climate, flora and fauna, etc., on the Ireland (the island) article - possibly also the ancient history. Then the country article(s) would contain politics, economy, culture, (recent) history, etc.

Note that the actual article titles haven't been decided upon yet. To forestall the endless circular arguments found elsewhere, my intention would be to have the issue discussed and agreed before actually setting up the articles proper. Anton Sweeney 08:27, 25 April 2007 (CDT)

Good thinking, Anton.
I think you should combine the country and island articles (since it's a bit arbitrary to hive off the twiddly bits of the Irish Archipelago like Sceilig Mhichíl, Rathlin, Blasket, Saltee, Aran, etc, islands) and you should be able to get to at least 1731 before serious dissension occurs. Obviously by the third decade of the nineteenth century you will need at least two articles to discuss the various state entities. Despite the recent shortening of the Dublin state entity's official title, I am sure you will be able to distinguish the articles about the whole island country of Ireland (even Dr Paisley replied that he was unambiguously an Irishman when I asked him in 1993) from those articles dealing with the various states.
Do you intend to include the Irish kingdoms across the water (like Strathclyde) in your ancient history? W. Frank 09:56, 25 April 2007 (CDT)

The question here isn't just what the titles should be, but how the whole topic of Ireland should be divided up. I'd like to leave that in the hands of the Irish--preferably, Irish Studies people, but actual Irish people would do in a pinch. I imagine that we might have articles about the geography of Ireland that cover all the Irish islands; a history article called something like history of Ireland to 1731, and then later installments based on political entities; one big history of Ireland article that covers the whole island (why not?); I think Ireland itself should be a brief discussion of what can be found on the island, politically, historically, geographically, and otherwise, but mainly with pointers to Eire or Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland. In the latter case, I'm not sure we actually need a disambiguation page at all. There are many questions involved here. We should take them up one at a time. --Larry Sanger 23:41, 26 April 2007 (CDT)

Naming Irish articles

Editor in Chief, Larry Sanger just used the edit summary of "(Rendering anticipated names consistent with CZ:Naming Conventions)" when changing the title of "Ireland, Republic of" to "Republic of Ireland" and "Ireland, Island of" to "Ireland (island).

However, I think he is wrong on one reading of the reference he provided: which currently emboldens: "put keywords first"

Since we can safely envision more than three Ireland articles developing over the course of time I would respectfully suggest that this reference encourages a series of articles named after this pattern:

  • Ireland, Republic of
  • Ireland, Southern (interim state in 1922)
  • Ireland, Rugby in
  • Ireland, prehistory
  • Ireland, missionaries from
  • Ireland, writers from
  • Ireland, traditional sports     etc,    etc

W. Frank 18:18, 25 April 2007 (CDT)

The main problem I see there is with the first one - "Ireland, Republic of". The Irish Constitution says "Article 4: The name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland."[1] The description of the state, according to the Republic of Ireland Act, 1948, is the "Republic of Ireland" [2]. (Note: W. Frank has mentioned that this has changed, but I didn't manage to find a reference to the change today). Now, on WP, there have been pages and pages of arguments, polls, etc., about where articles should reside - currently, over there,
  • "Republic of Ireland" is the article on the state, Ireland;
  • "Ireland" is the article on the island as a whole;
  • "Ireland (disambiguation)" is (obviously) a disambiguation page linking to both the above, plus "Northern Ireland", plus former political entities on the island, people with Ireland as a surname, etc.
The gist of the argument is that the article on the state should not have to reside at a page named after its description, rather than its proper name. The prevailing consensus is that it would be too much trouble to move pages around and that things work fine as they are. However, every so often, someone kicks off the debate again...
Here at CZ, we have the opportunity to do things right from the start. My initial idea is that we should have:
  • Ireland - a disambiguation page, linking to:
  • Ireland - the island;
  • Ireland - the state;

primarily in order to forestall such interminable recurring arguments.

I'm open as to what the actual names of the articles are, though for the reasons stated, I do think calling the article on the state either "Ireland, Republic of" or "Republic of Ireland" would be a mistake.
At this stage of CZ's life - I'm wondering is this the correct place to have this debate, or should it be in a more "central" location such as the Geography forum, or CZ:Geography Workgroup? Regards, Anton Sweeney 18:57, 25 April 2007 (CDT)

The rule you found was articulated by a new arrival to Citizendium who has made that rule as a proposal. I disagree with it, and I've removed it, pending a discussion by the Editorial Council.

I do agree that a more central location such as the Geography forum would be more appropriate. --Larry Sanger 20:25, 25 April 2007 (CDT)

Discussion started here. Anton Sweeney 04:17, 27 April 2007 (CDT)


Wouldn't it be better for this page to be located at Ireland (disambiguation) or something similar and for Ireland (state) to be located at Ireland? After all, most people who type "Ireland" into their web browser are probably looking for the country. William Niday 09:43, 28 August 2007 (CDT)

But many will instead be looking for the island. Possibly this article should be located at Ireland (disambiguation) - but with Ireland redirecting to it. "Ireland" is both the name of one state on the island, and of the island itself. When I set up the pages as I did, it was mainly to avoid the protracted discussions over this issue which take place on Wikipedia, and which never seem to die off for long. Anton Sweeney 10:17, 28 August 2007 (CDT)


I would suggest that we keep this disambiguation page, but re-use the article Ireland as a conatiner name for the island. The name the Republic declared as a description of that country (ie "Ireland") is relatively new (1937). Historically, however, the island has been known by the name "Ireland" for far longer.

As an example of what I mean, I had occasion just now to look at the article on James Tytler (I had never heard of him before), and I noticed that the man had "fled to Ireland". Given that the man was apparently a contemporary of Robert Burns, he wouldn't have fled to the Republic of Ireland, as it was yet to come to be. Whoever edited the article didn't disambiguate however, and anyone clicking on the blue link would be directed to this disambiguation page.

Ireland, for most of Tytler's life, was a kingdom, and at the end of his life was an integral part of the United Kingdom, having been joined in union just prior to his death. It is my suspicion that this will be the most common use of the link Ireland by editors referring to the region, and that the link should therefore contain a description of the island as a whole.

Ireland (island) should therefore, to avoid duplication, redirect to Ireland. --Mal McKee 16:48, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

While the boundaries obviously are controversial, I've found it useful, as a parallel, to have both Israel and State of Israel. This is something I've done for several other countries. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:12, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
So a precedent has already been set then, Howard. Perhaps another couple of views on the matter would be useful before we resolve to make any changes. --Mal McKee 18:15, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it would be better to avoid such controversial actions, just keep disambiguation. Just look at all the endless wars on Wikipedia on this subject. Peter Jackson 10:27, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
To be honest, I'm not interested in wars or even the discussion of wars on other sites, Peter. I'm simply proposing this as being the most logical solution to stop blue links directing to a disambiguation page. I can't see anyone here having any kind of problem with it.
In fact, having just checked Wikipedia, it seems they are doing what I have proposed with regard to their article. They have the article on Ireland, which is about the historic and geographic region, and they have a disambiguation article for the various meanings and contexts of Ireland.--Mal McKee 21:07, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
That just shows you who's been winning the wars. Remember the old saying: "Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done." I think it's desirable for us to avoid even the appearance of bias. Peter Jackson 14:46, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Peter, I'd love to know what you mean by this. How does "justice" relate in any way to my suggestion? I don't think that the consensus on that particular small part of the ongoing 'war' in Wikipedia is an example of any particular faction having "won" anything. --Mal McKee 17:09, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Justice was merely an analogy. Peter Jackson 11:56, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

[de-indent] Yes Peter, but an analogy for what? For the Wikipedia war? For disambiguation? For controversy? For bias?

On your note on who you think has been winning the Wikipedia war, I genuinely don't know who you think that is. I could take a guess, but I'm not sure that I'd be correct, and I wouldn't like to make assumptions. I would say the following though, and forgive me as the text I've written here, while quite succinct really (given the complexity of the 'war'), is reasonably long:

The last time I checked that place, it seemed pretty clear to me who was winning any 'war'. Take a look at the categories to witness the lack of consistency in Wikipedia due to petty and illogical pseudo-political objections:

  • Cornish culture
  • English culture
  • Culture of Northern Ireland
  • Scottish culture
  • Welsh culture
  • English society
  • Society of Northern Ireland
  • Scottish society
  • Welsh society

Notice a theme? It continues throughout the categories, with a handful of exceptions, and through many Wikipedia articles too.

Members of terrorist organisations relating to the conflict in Northern Ireland are divided into two main categories in Wikipedia: members applied to Loyalist terrorists, such as members of the Ulster Volunteer Force and volunteers applied to Republican terrorists, such as members of the Provisional IRA. What has been going on in Wikipedia in regard to this subject area has been, quite frankly, creepy.

Take, for example, articles on said terrorists. Let's contrast two people, on opposite sides, catalogued by Wikipedia: Billy Hutchinson (a Loyalist) and Francis Hughes (a Republican).

Francis Hughes was "an Irish volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army". I should note at this point that there had been a move in Wikipedia to make the 'V' of the word volunteer a capital letter. To continue, Francis Hughes according to Wikipedia, died during the "1981 Irish hunger strike". Let's take stock of that: I'm an Irish person, but I don't recall any general Irish Hunger Strike in 1981. <sarcasm>It is most unfortunate that this man happened to die, somehow, during this strike that I was unaware of and had no part in.</sarcasm>

The article on Hughes goes on to explain his rationale or motive behind joining the IRA. In the section describing his "Paramilitary activity", a quote waxes lyrically about how he spent his time on the move and cut a soldierly figure in his nice beret and uniform. The section describes how he took part in "scores of.. operations" and, while it uses the word "bombings", the strongest word besides that is "attacks", and later describes how he "killed.. two officers".

Hutchinson's short article describes him as "a former member of the Ulster Volunteer Force" (<sarcasm>the 'M' isn't capitalised</sarcasm>) who was imprisoned for the killing of "two Catholic men" (the word "Catholic" is wikilinked to a description of what an Irish Catholic apparently is). Although the article points out that Hutchinson is an atheist, he also points out how he was arrested "in connection with the murder of [a] Catholic teenager".

Hughes is categorised in 'Irish republicans imprisoned on charges of terrorism' and 'Shooting survivors'. Hutchinson is categorised in 'Ulster loyalists imprisoned on charges of terrorism and 'People convicted of murder by Northern Ireland'.

These are just a couple of examples. Others, just while we're on the subject, include the fact that Ross McWhirter was "assassinated by" the IRA, that Mark Haddock has apparently been "named by various sources in connection with more than twenty-one murders", and that Martina Anderson "is a nationalist politician.. and is a former volunteer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA)", always linking the word volunteer to the discussion article about what an IRA volunteer is.

So Wikipedia is biased, yeah. It suffers from systemic bias which is unfortunately compounded by facts as specifically noted in website, such as that Francis Hughes is commemorated: "The American city of Boston renamed the street the British consulate is on to Francis Hughes Street. He is commemorated on the Irish Martyrs Memorial at Waverley Cemetery in Sydney, Australia."

Now I'm not arguing about the morality of martyring the Hunger Strikers (streets in other parts of the world have been named after Bobby Sands also). I have my opinion, which we need not go into here. What I believe it does illustrate though, is a certain populist sentiment which leads to systemic bias. The same is probably true for many other subjects besides this one, but when working on a project such as this, I think it is important to stick to logic and a certain amount of consistency rather than sentiment.

The problem with this particular subject (and it may be the same for other subjects also) is that there is often only one 'side' or the other, and sometimes no suitable compromise between viewpoints. I try to divorce myself from my own sentiment and bias, and work on the idea of logic and common sense. I think that working this way, we can avoid some of the arguments that have grown in Wikipedia, and the factionalist methods used there in conflict resolution (which leads to stalemates or the introduction of systemic bias). Sometimes working this way may result in an outcome which favours my own bias, and sometimes it may work against it. Hopefully that will result in keeping a certain amount of balance and consistency within this encyclopaedia which is missing from Wikipedia.

So, given what I had noticed with the article I mentioned (we shouldn't have a blue link which redirects to a disambiguation page unless we specifically mean browsers to go to such a page), would you agree that the logical thing to do would be to give the page ownership for a general article on Ireland to the page Ireland? --Mal McKee 12:32, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I don't know whether we have some rule about such things. My own instinct would be that the article Ireland should be a sort of stub/disambiguation, just telling people basic points like
  • until the 20th century, "Ireland" always referred to the whole island of Ireland, with or without numerous much smaller islands around it
  • it often still does
  • but it also often refers to Southern Ireland/Irish Free State/Eire/Republic of Ireland/Irish Republic
Then you can have some suitably named articles for the two (or three) meanings. Peter Jackson 18:18, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, that's the status quo at the minute. But I'm proposing we change that. I'm making the proposition because most people, and I include myself here, when they think of Ireland they think of the whole island - it's geography and history. Everything before 1937 or 1949, despite the name that the southern state on the island has chosen to be known by, which excludes most of the province of Ulster. So instead of a blue link redirecting to a disambiguation page, when new articles are created, I think it would be best that the link goes to a generic article about the island, with a note ('See also' section or something) that explains and points to articles about other usages of the name. Your bullet point text above is nearly perfect for an intro to the Ireland article, in my opinion.
Newer editors (and by that, I mean authors and editors), and some who are already here, won't necessarily bother looking up to see exactly which link we should be piping through the text, and considering whether or not they have the correct context or not. But if people feel linking to a disambiguation page is perfectly fine, then so be it. :) I suggested other people opine here because I wanted to gather a general consensus (I know... that word probably has dirty connotations for people who have been involved in any way with Wikipedia!).
Personally, if anyone can show a logical reason to keep Ireland as a redirection to a disambiguation page, then I'm willing to explore and possibly accept it. Ireland hasn't changed though, in more then 2,000 years. The new state was created; the people have changed; the landscape has been developed etc, but it's still roughly in the same position it has been, drifting slowly away from its neighbouring island at something like 1 cm per year, and pretty much the same shape and with the same history it has had in that period. Ireland refers to some 9,000 years of habitation, or around 2,300 years of recorded history. Not to belittle the state that was basically formed in 1920 and separated in 1949, whose people accepted a constitution which, optimistically, opted for the name of the island as the name of the state, but that has some sixty or seventy years of claim to the name by comparison. When I think of Ireland, I think of the Ireland that my ancestors lived in thousands of years ago - not necessarily the politics of the last couple of hundred years.
I know of one, otherwise intelligent and successful man who, in the 21st century, wasn't even aware of the existence of Northern Ireland. This man was, however, aware of Ireland, along with its stereotyping and myths etc. So when people think of Ireland, especially before 1920, they think of the whole island - not about the nation state.
I hope you don't mind that I've rambled a bit here! I just wanted to make it clear that, although I come from Northern Ireland specifically, I come from Ireland, and that my motive for proposing this change isn't borne out of mere political ideology or bias, I guess. --Mal McKee 19:13, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
We're not discussing your motivations here. My quotation about justice was trying to suggest we should avoid even the appearance of bias. Alternative quotation: "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion." The WP wars illustrate that people are liable to see bias in such things. Peter Jackson 11:06, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I have made an effort to explain how this proposal is unbiased, Peter - that is the point of my discussing my motivation. Once again, I cannot see that anyone would see this proposal, if implemented, as being biased in any way. I think, after having given a full explaination of it, it is now up to you (as you seem to be the only person with any objection so far) to show how this might "appear" biased. After that, we can then possibly move the debate on. --Mal McKee 17:14, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Haven't I already said that the mere fact that there are endless wars on Wikipedia about this and similar matters proves that many people would regard it as biased to use one meaning as primary? What more can I say? Have you done any research to find out the relative frequencies of the meanings? Peter Jackson 12:09, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
I would tend to disagree with you in regard to Wikipedia. All Wikipedia proves is that there are a few vigilant extremists who make more noise than their numbers would make one think they were capable of. The squeaky wheel tends to get the grease!
Relative frequencies of meanings? You mean with regard to the name of the island? The island is almost invariably referred to as "Ireland" (unless a more informal or poetic tone is used, then it may be called "Éire", "The Emerald Isle", "Erin" etc). But there is absolutely no question, doubt or controversy about the name of the island. If there was any doubt in this regard, I probably wouldn't be making this proposal. --Mal McKee 12:34, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
No, I mean the two (or three) meanings of the word "Ireland". In physical geography it clearly has one meaning. In politics, law and economics it has a different meaning. History and human geography not so obvious. Peter Jackson 11:46, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it would be a highly complex thing to research the various contexts of what you describe, for frequency. We'd also have a problem of popularity versus accuracy, I suspect. I appreciate that the context of human geography is complex (probably no more or less so than most other regions of the world though). However, the island is known as, and has been known as, Ireland or a variation thereof for at least 2,000 years. In times where there may be confusion in the human geography, that should be explained by the text in a given article. As for the political, legal and economic contexts, we already have an unambiguous article for the Republic of Ireland, and for Northern Ireland, for that period. --Mal McKee 17:23, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Just be basic

Look, folks,

People who search for 'Australia', 'India', 'Uganda', and yes, 'Ireland' are usually just searching for a country. They're not going to type in The Commonwealth of Australia or The Federal Republic of Germany or The People's Superior and Most Auspicious of Northsoutheastwesterland.

We don't need to demonstrate our superiority, we just need to make things clear. We also need to be consistent.

So far, we have consistently upheld that countries have precedence over the simple name, and that the simple form of the name should be the one at which the country lives.

I see no reason to change this in the case of Ireland, even though it's a complicated case and sensitivities will run high.

In my view, 'Ireland' should be taken to mean Republic of Ireland, and should point to the article now at Ireland (State). Northern Ireland should point to Northern Ireland. Ireland (disambiguation) should stay. Ireland (island) should stay, presuming anyone actually wants to work on an article so named. 'Southern Ireland' does not exist and makes no sense to me at all. To have Republic of Ireland redirect to Ireland (state) makes no sense to me.

Aleta Curry 23:34, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Aleta, people who search for Australia may well just type Australia. The thing is, so far as I know, there's only one Australia - it's unique. Other countries, such as Uganda, France, Germany - they are all also unique. There had, of course, been two Germanys. Historically, there has been the old Germany, and East and West Germany, and modern Germany, which assimilated East Germany.
I don't know about demonstrating "superiority" over anything. Perhaps you could explain that point. But I do know that when I want to search on Google, for example, on the subject of Ireland as a whole, I use the name "Ireland". If I want to search for something regarding the Republic of Ireland specifically, I use the name "Republic of Ireland". If I want to search for something on Northern Ireland, I use the name "Northern Ireland". It's quite simple.
Consistency was also my point, which I mentioned twice in this discussion.
CZ does seem to be relatively consistent - except when it comes to Ireland. Take, for example, Korea (ie. Ireland). There are two countries in Korea (Ireland): North Korea (Northern Ireland) and South Korea (Republic of Ireland). Now, so far as I'm aware, it is often the case that people referring to "Korea" (in the West anyway) are actually referring to South Korea specifically. But, when there is a need for clarity, then people tend to write "South Korea". Thus, the articles in CZ are North Korea and South Korea, and one for Korea as a whole (I presume somebody actually wanted to work on an article so named).
Incidentally, people have already wanted to work on that article, as you can see.
It isn't actually that complex, really. There are three distinct topics:
# Ireland - the island, geographically, and the history of its inhabitants.
# The Republic of Ireland - the relatively new nation state, having developed from the previous incarnations dating to 1920.
# Northern Ireland - the remnant of a state or sub-state which remained a part of the United Kingdom in 1920/21.
Therefore, three main articles. We currently have Ireland, Ireland (state) and Ireland (island). So we have this already. However, the problem, as I see it, is that when a new editor comes along and references Ireland in an article or edit s/he makes, the blue link will take a reader to a disambiguation page - Ireland (disambiguation). There is no real reason to do so - the link should simply stop at Ireland. And the article on Ireland should include references to both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as historic and geographic articles etc. We also have the related articles pages. Keeping the page Ireland (disambiguation) is a good idea though, as it may prove useful. I am not advocating a deletion of that article.
I personally disagree that Ireland should be taken to mean Republic of Ireland, as it can be confusing - ambiguous: Ireland still exists, whether it is divided politically or not.
I should say also, that 'Southern Ireland' does exist, in history. I never mentioned Southern Ireland however, and I wouldn't suggest we necessarily start an article on it - that information can be included in the article about the state that developed from it - the Republic of Ireland.
I'm not sure why it makes no sense to you that "Republic of Ireland" should redirect to "Ireland (state)". That is the name that has been chosen for the article on that topic. Again, I think the article would probably be better served being renamed as Republic of Ireland (imagine a situation where a reader notes that an article states, "Ireland is a country in Ireland, in the north-west of Europe"!), but now we are departing slightly from my proposal.
To get back on topic though, say I were to write an article on the mythical Irish hero Setanta (Cuchulainn). If I were to explain, in the article, where he was from and I were not particularly aware of the current names used for articles on CZ, I would most likely write that he came from Ireland and wikilink it. I wouldn't necessarily expect the link to direct to a disambiguation page, because it would be assumed that Cuchulainn didn't come from either the Republic of Ireland nor from Northern Ireland, but from Ireland, as neither of the two political entities existed at the supposed era of Cuchulainn.
I invite you to read or re-read the second paragraph of my proposal at the beginning of this section. "Basic" is the very goal I am trying to attain. Basic, unambiguous, logical and simple. --Mal McKee 01:05, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Don't forget Ireland (Meg), for heaven's sake! If you do, we'll *really* be in trouble! And, of course, John Ireland (actor). Hayford Peirce 00:06, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Hayford, you seem to have a penchant for sarcasm! I guess the safest thing to do would be to ignore it. If you don't understand the subject, or haven't the patience to try, there is no reason to make a comment about it. --Mal McKee 01:05, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Mal, you should join the Constabulary and go around whapping the Citizens on the head for lèse-majesté and other high offenses. Sorry I don't meet your rarefied standards for the comprehension of countries' names.... Hayford Peirce 01:13, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
The country name of Ireland is unique, recognised by the UN and the EU, and is specfic to the Republic of Ireland. You may argue that the geographical entity is politically divided, and we can agree on that point. However, there is no need for Ireland (state), since the entire world knows (or thinks it knows) what Ireland is. There is a need for Ireland (island) and Northern Ireland. If authors in other articles make sloppy links going to Ireland when really they mean Ireland (island), then correct them. It is not appropriate to foist what is really a political viewpoint onto CZ -- even though we may have sympathy with it.Martin Baldwin-Edwards 01:29, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
ADDENDUM. The Irish Constitution states, in Article 4, the following: "The name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland. " Since this is the constitutional decision of a recognised democratic country, you may not challenge that name. However, I note that all British and Northern Ireland (and many US) publications do challenge it, and redesignate the country name as "Republic of Ireland". They appear not to be bothered by minor details such as international law, the UN, democratic principles etc etc. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 01:54, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Hayford, all I am saying is that you seem to be quite forward in expressing your distaste for certain subjects, and that it may be seen as objectionable, offensive and intolerant of others' views or arguments.
Martin, I don't see any need for "Ireland (island)", when the entire world knows that it refers to the island, its history and its inhabitants, its flora and fauna and its geography. There is a need, however, for "Northern Ireland", as it is an intrinsic and specific part of Ireland. There is also a need for "Ireland (state)" as it is also an intrinsic and specific part of Ireland. I don't see that there is any foisting of political viewpoints on anyone with this proposal, if that is what you are suggesting. I am discussing the name of the article for Ireland - not either of the states within it.
{Edit conflict] I will say this though: there is only one entity which is forcing its political viewpoint on anyone, and that is the southern Irish state. This is recorded in history as being a specific propaganda move and it's certainly working very well, as you point out. However, none of that is my concern with regard to my proposal - we already have an article for that particular state. The article name itself validates the constitution of that particular country. I am simply questioning the sense of having an extraneous step when it isn't needed. Bram Stoker didn't live in "Ireland (disambiguation)" - he lived in Ireland.
In response to your Addendum - again, I am not proposing a change to the name of the article on the state. We already have a name for that article: Ireland (state). Since you seem determined to discuss it though, I should probably remind you that law has very little to do with anything. We could (collectively or as individuals), after all, call either state in Ireland "Zilxious VI" if we so chose. Also, as there are other democratic countries in the world, there is nothing to stop one of them also calling their country "Ireland". You would not be able to challenge that either. In fact, that was a fear that some politicians in the Free State had - that Northern Ireland would choose the name "Ireland" for itself. FIFA made a ruling some 60 years or so ago, that there couldn't be two football teams both named Ireland. So both teams had to rename (Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, oddly enough!).
As for being bothered by democratic principles, that doesn't seem to have worried the politicians of the Republic back in 1937, when they opted for a name they knew would be ambiguous. I would disagree with you that "all British publications challenge" this. I would suggest that most don't, but some, for the purposes of disambiguation oddly enough, do choose to use the other name. The other name - "Republic of Ireland" - was, at least, provided for by that country's Republic of Ireland Act of 1949. It is accepted by, and indeed sometimes used by, that state's government itself. It is also a legal document.
As an interesting footnote, the idea of renaming Northern Ireland as Ulster was considered on two occasions in its parliament. However, the Northern Irish government decided to continue with the name that it had been allocated originally. Nor did it take on the name of the island. Republicans seem quite happy to accept the idea that the name of the southern state, ostensibly, includes all of the territory of the island (contrary to the spirit of the Belfast Agreement of 1998, by the way), yet they baulk at the suggestion of calling Northern Ireland "Ulster", which includes some of the territory of the Republic! The difference, of course, is that those in the Republic put it down in writing and insisted that everyone called them by the name they wanted, knowing full well what effect it would have.
But all this is a complete digression from the point. I believe it would be infinitely more handy to use the article Ireland as a description of the island and its history as a whole, so that articles written don't point to a mere disambiguation page. --Mal McKee 02:24, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, I don't really want to get into an argument over this (in case you don't know, I was at Queen's Univ. of Belfast for 3 years). However, there are some universal guidelines that can help. The first is from the Naming Conventions (which I helped to write): this requires us to use the most common name in English. The second is that I had intended to prepare a specific country namimg guideline, for all cases. This would require the use of the UN name, as a matter of international law and the fact that it is very difficult to get a country recognised, so the name is definitive as far as the world is concerned. Both apply here: in particular, I do not know what people think Ireland means across the globe. I doubt that they understand about Northern Ireland, and so they assume that it is all one country, and expect to see an article about a country. My preference would be to rename Ireland (state) to Ireland. This would be analogous to Cyprus, whose constitution also states that people in the North are considered to be Citizens of the South. We don't have Cyprus (state) to distinguish it from Cyprus, but it would make sense to have Cyprus (island) as a geographical or historical identity. Northern Ireland needs its own name, as we all agree. I think we need Ireland (island). This then would not need disambiguation, other than in the leads of the articles (pointing to the other relevant articles).

So, in response to your point: I don't think links should go to a disambig page; nor is there an obvious to take them to the island of Ireland. Links to Eire should go to Ireland, to the island generally to Ireland (island), and to Northern ireland to that name. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 04:19, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Well Martin, I went to the poor man's alternative to Queen's! I was once confronted by a drunken Englishman at the UU who said to me, "Tiocfaidh ár lá" while he was waiting at the bus stop on campus with his local-born friend. 'Nuff said, I guess! ;)
With regard to your Naming Convention requirement that we use the most common name in English, then my proposal apparently has the upper hand: there is no other more common name for Ireland, in English, even including poetic names like "Emerald Isle".
Second, while the UN may be an authority to some degree, it still wouldn't necessarily clear up the ambiguity which exists. If it is difficult to get a country recognised, how hard is it to get the name of an island, which has already been established, de facto, for thousands of years?!
You have hit the nail on the head with what you have said about the understanding of peoples throughout the world. I think I may have said this before, but I know one person in the USA who wasn't even aware of the existence of Northern Ireland. The USA!!! A learned and well-developed country, surely, and this person was a professional.
We can't always go by what people might expect. People, as a collective, are often proven to be wrong. Now I'm not saying that either Ireland is 'wrong'. The problem is in fact that they are both 'right', in their way. But this is a compendium of information - an encyclopaedia. It is surely the job of such a thing to inform people of the facts. The fact is that Ireland has existed, and been known by that name, for thousands of years. That the state that now exists on the island has also chosen that name is not a fault of our own, but we must make allowances for that.
And so we come to the problem that your preference (of renaming Ireland (state) as Ireland) would be likely to create: Oscar Wilde wasn't born in Ireland. He was born in Ireland. To say that he was born in the state would be misleading, considering the state wasn't created until after he had died. Roddy Doyle, on the other hand, was born in Ireland, but to say he was born in Ireland would also be correct, and not misleading whatsoever.
Alternatively, James Cousins was born in Belfast. But he wasn't born in Northern Ireland. Nor was he born in Ireland. But he was born in Ireland. You see? If an editor writes in an article that so-and-so was born in Ireland (assuming CZ adopted your current preference), and just puts square brackets around the word Ireland to wikilink it, then that editor is being incorrect. Wikilinking to the island will always be correct, even if it is slightly less specific. Take racing driver Eddie Irvine. He was born in Ireland, but he wasn't born in the Republic.
This is why there needs to be disambiguation, and I believe my proposal is the most logical way to go about it. In Wikipedia, the article for the southernmost state is 'Republic of Ireland'. CZ's way would be, shall we say 'fairer' to that state by the fact that it recognises the state's wish to be known as 'Ireland', but simply includes a disambiguating word in brackets after it.
Finally, I apologise if all this wikilink piping is slightly confusing, but if you bear with my argument, I feel sure you'll see the logic in it. --Mal McKee 06:26, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

I had thought, in using Ireland (state), Ireland (island), and Ireland (disambiguation)]] that the perennial "consensus wars" on Wikipedia could be completely avoided. It seems not. A couple of points:

  • if an author is using Ireland in articles without checking where it leads to, they're being somewhat lazy. Unfortunate, but not something we should be creating systems to cater for. Such links can, in fact, be easily caught and corrected;
  • people are not generally described as being born in/on or coming from geographical features - usually they're described as being from states and countries;
  • Mal has stated that "most people, and I include myself here, when they think of Ireland they think of the whole island - it's geography and history." Well - I don't. And while I doubt the veracity of the statement, I simply don't know if there's any way to tell if its is true or not. As for people who aren't aware of a distinction between the state and the Ireland - whether that's because they're from a hugely insular country where less than 30% of people have passports, or lack of education - then the purpose of an encyclopedic project, surely, is to educate? So if they type "Ireland" into the search bar and arrive at a disambiguation page, they're immediately alerted to the fact of the distinctions that exist.

In summary, I would prefer the status quo to remain. If there is to be a change, though, then the article on the state should obviously take precedence over that on the geographical feature, and the article on the state should move to Ireland. Anton Sweeney 10:00, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds of civility. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.)

To return to the topic. We now have people arguing for both possibilities as primary topic, and Anton and me agreeing with disambiguation. Peter Jackson 11:14, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, this is far from easy. Happily, we all seem to be disagreeing politely. My position is one of trying to establish general rules that can be applied across the board, for most countries of the world. So, to take the example of historical locality (which Mal uses): most countries' boundaries have changed in some ways, leaving historical confusion about (for example) what used to be India and is now Pakistan. Going back further in history, there are even bigger problems. Those problems are not solved simply: I advocate individual historical articles, where necessary, and geographical inclusion where appropriate (as in this case). Generally, though, an article on India should be able to explain to the reader in the lead that historically it covered territory that is now other countries. The same approach can be taken with the article "Ireland".
On the matter of disambiguation. My opinion is that disambig pages should be avoided; this in in contrast to WP. I also oppose the WP policy of telling a country what its official name is (such as Rep. of Ireland). There is logic in the WP policies, but they are not appropriate. Disambiguation should be a last resort: the article on Ireland should state very clearly in the lead what it is about, what other articles exist that might be relevant to the reader's needs, etc. So, someone goes to the article Ireland (in my scenario) and perhaps didn't know that the island of Ireland is politically divided; the intro will explain that this is the case, and if the interest is in the country named Ireland then s/he should continue with this article; if the interest is in the geographical entity of ireland, to go to the article Ireland (island); to Northern Ireland for the northern state; etc. I think Peter is right that Americans have no grasp of these things at all (despite funding the IRA for decades), but I do not see that a disambiguation page is neeeded. This can be done within the articles. If they cannot, then obviously the disambig page can be created to solve the problems. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 14:01, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
The Editorial Council, has, for that matter, an informal discussion about country names already established at: My recollection is/was that we agreed to discuss this with no time limits -- when it appears that we have more or less decided what we want to do about this matter, one of us will then make a formal motion about what the Guidelines/Rules should be. Hayford Peirce 18:59, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. Apropos of the discussion there, I suggest that the best starting point is the ISO -- whose sole remit is to standardize names/things across the world. They list short forms of country names, that are accepted by each country and the UN, but are not always identical (i.e. excluding long complex names used in UN formal documents). The file is available here: Martin Baldwin-Edwards 19:30, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! I fear, however, that this is a basically intractable problem whose solution that will *never* satisfy everyone. For instance, everyone today now says "Iran" without thinking twice about it. But if CZ had existed 60 years ago, would we have been having bitter arguments about "Iran" vs. "Persia"? Probably. I have a feeling that eventually everyone who still says "Burma" will have died off also.... Hayford Peirce 19:55, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Maybe, but this is also about disambiguation pages. The EC should make some policy on them: I think this one is not needed, and most of the stuff on it is not disambiguation anyway. It is like a catalogue of things connected with Ireland. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 04:14, 2 March 2011 (UTC)