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date: 25 May 2022


The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity
Edel BhreathnachEdel Bhreathnach

The modern Anglicized name ‘Ireland’ derives from the island’s early Celtic name Īweriū, Old Irish Ériu. This name is likely to have meant ‘the fertile land’, and in its original formation is most likely to have expressed the strong associations between the earth, fertility, and the feminine. This fundamental link between the fertility of the land and female fertility is a universal belief that is further expressed in other early names for Ireland which often transmogrified into female personal names. Along with Ériu, Ireland was identified at times with women named Banba and Fótla.... ...

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