This place, that place, the other place the rest…

I had a Eureka moment the other night, and I believe I have solved the problem of what to call This Place! (also known as Northern Ireland, the Six Counties, The North, Norn Iron, The Province, the Failed Statelet, the Lost Field, the Occupied Counties, Our Wee Country, etc. )

I think almost all agree the present farce of multiple names is confusing, and one side is almost as bad as the other in this regards, I know those more nationalist of readers are saying “get rid of it altogether and the problem is solved” but I think we all must accept “all of the above” will remain in existence as a seperate entity of some sort for generations to come, whether it becomes a semi-autominous region of Ireland or remains part of the UK it is here to stay.

Therefore an acceptable name is required and I propose we call it…
wait for it …
ULSTER !
Now hold on before you all start shouting, I know there already is an Ulster, which includes those bits outside the jusistiction of Stormont, generally comprising the “three lost counties” of Unionist Legend, but we all know these boundaries were an invention of the English Conquors and up to that stage changed often, now for the smart bit, in order to reflect modern realities and rebalance the divisions of Ireland I hereby propose we restore the lost province of Meath!

As I’m sure any of the Gaeilge speakers amongst us would inform you, the Irish language word for the provinces is cúige meaning the ” fifth part” and in days of yore before the Saxons Cartographers drew their lines, there was indeed five provinces, Ulster, Leinster, Connacht, Munster and Meath, the Middle one, Meath of Royal Tara, was tragically shrunk to a country and swallowed up by mighty Leinster, but what has this to do with our corner of the country and the Province of Ulster?

Currently Ireland has in the region of 6 million inhabitants in 32 counties, extremely unequally divided into four Historic Provinces, as any Connacht rugby fan would tell you I am sure, they are currently divided as follows:-

Ulster has 9 counties, 24,000 km sq and about 2 million people.

Munster has 6 counties, also 24,000 km sq and just under 1.2 million people

Mighty Leinster has a whopping 12 counties, roundabout 20,000 km sq and almost 2.3 million people!

but poor wee Connacht has only 5 counties, 18,000 km sq and only half a million inhabitants.

So lets even things up by restoring the cúige, 32 counties divided by five gives you roughly 6.5 counties each,  17,500 km sq and an average population of 1.2 million, give or take a few here or there, obviously allowances have to be made for the geography in the west so some imbalance will remain, but I think we can do much better than the current system!

My proposals to reorganise the country are as follows:-

Munster to remain as it is, 6 counties, population 1.2 million, just about right!

Ulster to become 6 Counties, (I’m sure you can guess which ones ) population 1.7 million, bit over population wise but acceptable.

Connacht, to become 6 counties with the inclusion of Donegal, bringing the population up to 0.6 million, still well under but geography over rules in this case, a big spread of area but culturally much of Donegal is a western County.

Leinster, to lose its norther portion, including half of Dublin, reducing it to 7.5 counties and a population of 1.3 million, still over but logical geographically, and dividing Dublin reduces its dominance.

Finally, New Meath, with 6.5 counties and 1.2 million residents, its just perfect! made up of Meath, Westmeath, Louth, Longford, Cavan and Monaghan, along with Dublin City and Finglas, historically not that far removed from its old boundaries, and a compact entity.

I can understand if some of our neighbours down south might resent a northerner like myself reorganising their country, but I’m sure even the most ardent traditionalist will admit there is a certain amount of logic to my proposals.  In the new smaller Ulster both communities can adopt and share the symbols of the tradition province, and those in Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal can celebrate a new stronger identity instead of being in a no-mans-land of sorts.  The Irish government can carry out a more sensible form of regionalisation, both devoling some powers to the new provinces and centralising much of the county council functions within them, saving the need to redraw county boundaries.  If in the distant future a United Ireland occurs Ulster can be much more easily absorbed into the new Provincial structures and allowances can be factored into any reorganisation if so desired, this should make the proposition an attractive one to Nationalists.

Within the Unionist community there has always been an attachment to the name and identity of Ulster, despite its overwhelming Gaelic origins and symbolism, and the name remains in use in many areas, from the Ulster Farmers Union, the Royal Society of Ulster Architects, the Ulster Museum, Ulsterbus, to The Ulster Unionist Party, (NICUNF does not have the same ring as UCUNF you must admit),  just as most of these institutions have increasingly come to represent the whole community, the name of Ulster no longer can be monopolised, and I’m sure most will gladly welcome its official use once again, and maybe those ghost of the betrayed counties can be laid to rest.

So to conclude, maybe this is a hair-brained idea that has as much chance of reality as an “Independent Ulster”, but someone was asking earlier for a non-water light-hearted subject, so its all yours to ridicule to your hearts content!  However if either Government accept the idea I want a heafty commission!!!

(PS Mick can we have a just for fun category for pieces like this! )

  • jon the raver

    Superb Drumlins – although this was no Eureka moment – this was must have been a day long !

    Now hit me with it – the boundaries are already drawn up – the WATERWAYS ! – this being the rainy season on Slugger

  • Michael

    “those in Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal can celebrate a new stronger identity instead of being in a no-mans-land of sorts. ”

    haha, I must relate that one back to my mum’s side of the family in Donegal.
    Do you actually believe that folks in the border counties somehow feel they have been living in a no mans land because loyalists/unionists like the sound of Ulster better than Northern Ireland when coming up with titles for everything from anti-gay campaigns to terrorist groupings?

  • Drumlins Rock

    actually was thinking more from the Southern point of view, the “ulster” part of the country almost seems an after though when viewed from Dublin.

  • Michael

    Does it now, thats a bold claim to make 🙂

    At least be honest about it, Ulster sounds more, or should that be less Irish. Northern Ireland still has that pesky Ireland bit in it’s name.
    Ulster, when said with a booming north antrim accent is short and sweet, and more importantly less likely to be confused with anything Irish by those not in the know.

    I from ULSTER! would be less likely to be met with a standard response of ‘ohhh, my grandad was Irish’ in a estuary or statten island accent than saying I’m from Northern Ireland 😉

  • greenflag

    DR ,

    ‘I think almost all agree the present farce of multiple names is confusing,’

    True . But only to foreigners and journalists from the rest of the Anglosphere who are terrified of mistitling the place . Native ulcerers (both spleens ) are past masters at using the various names on appropriate occasions, to offend or not to offend whoever is present or even not present . Sorting out this name business would confuse the native ulcerers entirely and remove for many (in these peaceful days) the last remaining nomenklatural insult they have left to throw at their diametrically opposed neighbours .

    A proper party pooper is what you are DR 😉

    I suggest you return to your bath robes and all and stop trying to find black and white and once and for all solutions to this and other similar issues . When you start seeing order in the chaos it’s an indication that you may be in for a bath -that’s what I said to my stock broker the last time he showed me some colourful excel spreadsheets showing the Dow Jones hitting about 30,000 in 2011 – Mind you that was a few years back and oddly enough I was just recently minded to call him to see how his projections were working out but all I get is a dial tone 🙁

  • Well done! Course I disagree with almost, in fact, thinking about it, just about all of it. But thinking outside the box! Well done.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Thank Michael, another good reason, would say I’m from Ungabungaland to avoid the “my aunties grannys dog was irish” brigade!
    Otherwise I happy enough to say i’m Irish usually, right after I say im British too lol

  • Drumlins Rock

    just a bit of fun, but humour me and tell me why it wouldn’t work!

  • ForkHandles

    i find this multiple names things a bit odd. i assume you are having a bit of a joke with this post. The name of the state is Northern Ireland. Its right beside the Republc of Ireland. Everyone the world over knows this.
    The multiple names you are talking about are used by abnormal people within Northern Ieland who are actually trying to pretend they are from somewhere they are not from. Nationalists use The North etc so they can pretend they are somehow from the Republic of Ireland. They are trying to make out that they are from the northern part of another country.
    Unionists who still use Ulster when they mean the state of Northern Ireland are trying to pretend they are somehow not living in Ireland at all.
    The even crazier thing is that everyone already knows this. But when they hear someone talking in this way they just act as if it is entirely normal. “They are just being Nationalist” or “they are just being Unionist”.

    Frankly this whole refusing to use the proper terms for things should be called exactly what it is. Its somewhere between backwardness and childishness.

    If i remember right, the last life and times survey showed most people referring to themselves as Northern Irish. The “ish” being the correct term for people from the state called Northern Ireland.

  • DR

    It is fun to think what if! I think of the north as Ulster, I also think of Donegal as Ulster. Personally I think we should all call the north by its proper name – Ulster! Ian Paisley always calls it Ulster (I think) and I always think of it as Ulster, and so (I think) does every Irish person. You can see how much both sides have in common already!

    Mind you if I recall my history correctly Ulster was always a pain in the back side, right from the year dot…

  • DC

    Therefore an acceptable name is required and I propose we call it…
    wait for it …
    ULSTER !
    Now hold on before you all start shouting, I know there already is an Ulster

    There will always be an Ulster?

  • greenflag

    ‘Mind you if I recall my history correctly Ulster was always a pain in the back side, right from the year dot…’

    I don’t know about the year dot but they put up a very bad show in 1014 at Clontarf . The Provincial Ulster King Maolseachlainn (Malachy ) kept his troops out of the battle and left the fighting to the Munstermen and Connachtmen and their southern viking allies . Some ‘scholars ‘ have conjectured that Malachy stayed out of it hoping that Boru would be defeated and he Malachy could usurp the High Kingship for the Ui Neill .

    Feckers then and now to all who have to deal with them 😉

  • greenflag

    Forkhandles ,

    ‘The multiple names you are talking about are used by abnormal people within Northern Ieland who are actually trying to pretend they are from somewhere they are not from. ‘

    Very true but that’s about 95% of the population . The 5% not so abnormal would be Poles, Chinese , English and some other ethnic minorities from Asia , Eastern Europe or Africa . Now aren’t they lucky not to have the problem of wondering where they are from or what to call themselves in front of others who might get upset ;)?

  • Greenflag

    Sure everyone knows there’s no point fighting if you’re not going to win! and winning need not necessarily be the same thing to different people.!

    Lol, Im just glad you didn’t mention dates. Im no good at dates!

  • Michael

    I just boaked in my mouth a little. 🙂

  • greenflag

    DC

    true enough I would’nt doubt it .

    there’ll always be an Ireland too

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwEgijnc4L8

    And there always be an England (thank christ )

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhUFVrdsd2A

  • Jean Meslier

    Four Candles

    Your scientific definition was holed below the waterline as soon as you said “…the name of the STATE is…”

    Wikipedia has the following. Which one is your beloved Norn Iron?

    A governed nation (entity or sub-entity)
    Sovereign state, a sovereign political entity in international public law
    Federated state, a political entity forming part of a federal sovereign state (includes a list)
    State (polity), the state in sociology and political science
    Nation state, a state which coincides with a nation.
    Rechtsstaat, the legal state (constitutional state, state subordinated to law) in philosophy of law and as principle of many national constitutions.

    There is also reference to a medical state.

    And then there’s ” would you look at the state of him” which the old dears used to shout at their hubby’s when they came home blootered on a Friday evening having spent the housekeeping money on whiskey and porter!!

  • Drumlins Rock

    on behalf of the Unionist community I offer my sincerest apology for that, I am deeply ashamed. 🙁

  • Drumlins Rock

    What about the Meath Ressurection ? anyone like that idea?

  • Jean Meslier

    And then there is the most famous state of all:

    State of Mind…

  • greenflag

    And now that the votes of the you tube jury are in on

    ‘There’ll always be ‘ contest

    Ireland 871,899 votes
    England 29,118 votes
    Ulster 501 votes

  • Jean Meslier

    Mindless State: – reference to above mentioned whiskey and porter consumers.

  • Michael

    I think its partly why Unionists never gained support internationally 😉
    You can’t build a support base or even empathy without some good tunes.

  • Jean Meslier

    What about – the unfinished symphony?

    Or – the unfinished Kronenborg?

  • Clo

    What’s the problem with ‘Northern Ireland’? I worry for anyone who has difficulty with calling it such, on either side on the fence. It seems to me it would be an effort, in some peoples minds, to distance the place further from an Irish identity or play down the age-old connections we have with the surrounding Ulster counties in the Republic. So as to make “our wee country” seem more… legitimate? Established? Authentic?

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it.

    But no, can’t say I’m too keen on the idea. I’m happy with Northern Ireland. 🙂

  • Alan Maskey

    You would have made a good Britis colonialist, drawing maps through places you know nothing about.

    However you shake it, the six counties have no real identity outside a united Ireland. Nothing can turn a subsidised pig’s ear into something it patently is not.

  • greenflag

    pippakin ,

    ‘Sure everyone knows there’s no point fighting if you’re not going to win! ‘

    Everyone ? Really ? Not my experience . Alas your everyone adage may apply to Belgium or Denmark or even Holland and even the former Soviet Union but it’s a lesson which has never really been learnt in Ireland . The country’s history is full of winners who lose, and losers who win . It’s in the nature of the beast . I mean we could have surrendered after a brave fight like the Welsh about a millenium ago and gone with the easy option -a bit of give and take here and there and all that – But no it was not to be .

    I blame this on the Clontarf win over the Vikings in 1014 who had been a nuisance for a few centuries and got their marching orders . Our provincial kings thought it would be just another re run of the Viking saga with the Normans . More evidence as if any more was needed of the danger in projecting future results based on past performance 🙁 This applies to history just as much as to overly rosy outlooked investment brochures .

    Had they done their research they should have known that unlike the Vikings the Normans once they came to Ireland had nowhere else to go back to . They had already been cast out by their Norman cousins in England 🙁 The latter had given poor old Harold Godwinson and his Saxons an almighty lambasting at Hastings which crushed any English resistance for a couple of centuries . In fact barring Wat Tyler , and Simon de Montfort (and he was French ) and a mythical Robin of Sherwood -the English proved a model subject population . We Irish simply were too fractious to be any kind of model subject population a fact which HMG belatedly accepted back in 1922 🙂

  • greenflag

    michael ,

    ‘without some good tunes.’

    Don’t tell me the Sash isn’t a great tune and Lilibulero and some of the others . Come on now no need to be tribal about the music as music -try and overlook the con notations 😉

  • Greenflag

    I know! as soon as I hit the ‘send’ key I knew I had, as usual, jumped in with both feet.

    Of course the English were conquered by anyone who set foot on the south, or any other coast, but we, ah, we never know or would dream of accepting defeat, and our never say die attitude has served us well!

  • greenflag

    The HIll of Tara was a long time ago and apart from that
    the people in Westmeath, Louth, Longford, Cavan and Monaghan, along with Dublin City and Finglas would not want to be lumped under a Meath catch all . In fact the mere mention of that could have the Finglas folk going for their guns . They would resent being culchified as would the Dublin City crowd .

    For purposes of local government Dublin is already divided in three -Fingal , Dublin City and Dunlaoghaire Rathdown . It works although improvement is always possible

  • Michael

    I’m not being tribal, the sash is a dreary tune. I think orangemen and their bands should start doing covers of the Fall’s new big prinz, maybe even the whole kurious oranj album. Even Breandán couldn’t fail to go out and have an oul dance to that.

  • Jean Meslier

    Touche

  • latcheeco

    DR,
    How about Stormonia, Borderia, Mucksavagaria, Gombeeria, and Feckaria

  • greenflag

    ‘What’s the problem with ‘Northern Ireland’?’

    Image . Perception, Marketing and Investment cachet , Geographical inexactitude ( the Donegal question ) , Politcal and religious reputation in a more secular Europe , and probably a thousand other reasons . i’ll agree with Drumlin that a name makeover would not be a bad thing . Giving a car the moniker No Va (Spanish for does’nt go) resulted in car sales being disastrous in mexico and spanish speaking countries . Admittedly Northern Ireland is not a North Korea or an East Germany but a title change could do it a world of good 🙂

    Other than Ulidia though I can’t think of anything suitable . Post any repartition ‘Orangia’ could work . A sort of citric fruity image conjouring up thoughts of sunshine and blue skies for evermore etc (one of the Doc’s leitmotif’s iirc in days of yore when the province was beset by the grey clouds of an all ireland republic .

    But now that I focus on it Ulidia while it fits in with all the ia ending names that are common enough as in Armenia , Serbia , Slovenia , Slovakia ,Namibia, Zambia , Mauritania etc etc there is something about it I don’t think fits the projected desirable image that Drumlin Rock might wish .

    Ulidia sounds more like a shop name somebody would bestow on a lingerie outlet 😉 Now you could’nt say that about Ulster ?

  • Michael

    Subsidia?

  • greenflag

    ‘the sash is a dreary tune.’

    Don’t be daft .

  • greenflag

    Too close to subsidence or submersion but at least humourous in keeping with the Augustinian mood set off by Drumlin 😉

  • Michael

    I’m neither daft nor tribal in not overlapping with your good self in the venn diagram of music tastes. 🙂

  • greenflag

    Stormonia sounds like an exotic tropical flower and also too close to an historical and currently in use former country house .

    Borderia – Have you no imagination ?

    Mucksavagaria – Bad for the tourist trade and ye’d have people especially Americans whose spelling and literacy is always suspect thinking the country is full of old feckers wrestling in the muck and using viagara ?

    Gombeeria – Again too close to Gambia . Could have very disappointed tourists wondering why the natives are so pale and why they don’t do the tribal war dance thing dressed up in skins like in the travel brochure ?

    Feckaria – the image here is conjured up of a province people by Father Jack Hackett clones . Protests that that would be an ecumenical matter would not result in a tourist inflow but rather the reverse’

    I think they’re stuck with Northern Ireland for the duration until such time as they can drop the inaccurate locational adjective and become the Ulster /Ulcer they have always been and always will be ;)?

    Now I’m off for a few weeks away from computers and stuff . So behave yourselves and be good and for christsakes stay inside the box 😉

  • Clo

    Well if repartition were to happen in my lifetime, I wouldn’t be hanging around in County Antrim – although admittedly, it would be rather amusing introducing myself as an ‘Orangian’. It’s conjuring up more of an image of monkeys than citrus fruits for me though.

    But I’m sticking to my guns – Northern Ireland is alright. I don’t think a name change would go much of a way in settling any qualms about what or who we are. This little region has been a bit confused of it’s identity from the day t’was born. People, esp the younger generation, are more frequently referring to themselves as ‘norn irish’ – which I actually think is a positive thing, despite it’s technical incorrect-ness.

    If I REALLY have to pick one though… it’s going to have to be shambolia.

    sham·bles (shmblz)
    pl.n. (used with a sing. verb)
    1.
    a. A scene or condition of complete disorder or ruin: “The economy was in a shambles” (W. Bruce Lincoln).
    b. Great clutter or jumble; a total mess: “made dinner and left the kitchen a shambles.”

    The tourists will be flocking here! 🙂

  • greenflag

    Feckaria update

    ‘Protests that that would be an ecumenical matter would not result in a tourist inflow but rather the reverse’

    This could also prompt a provincial exit by the bould Turgon which would be a sad loss for many while joyful for perhaps a few 😉 Imagine no more Battles of Jutland scenarios and analogies of Grouchy at Waterloo 🙁

  • Mike

    Does anyone remember an episode of The West Wing in which North Dakota was petitioning to have its name changed to Dakota because of the connotations of “north”? (If I remember correctly, cold, snowy, etc).

    Needless to say the show also depicted South Dakota objecting!

  • Mike

    On a more serious note (maybe not in keeping with the thread), I think surveys recently have found that Northern Irish has been replacing Ulster as an identity label (presumably this ‘replacement’ would be mostly among unionists who would have been using ‘Ulster’ as a NI synonym).

  • Rory Carr

    “I can understand if some of our neighbours down south might resent a northerner like myself reorganising their country.”

    They might resent your attempt at reorganisation of all of the provinces of Ireland, Drumlin, but they would have no cause to resent the fact that the proposal came from a northener – all countries have a north and northerners after all – and it cannot be said to be “their” country” any more than it is yours.

    Whatever of the merits of your proposal it is good at least to see you thinking along all-Ireland lines even if the exclusion of Donegal in particular from any new redrawn Ulster is almost as patently ridiculous as was the original act of socio-geographical butchery that cut it off from Derry..

  • ThomasMourne

    Where does the self-governing autonomous region of South Armagh fit in?

  • Drumlins Rock

    I would suggest in a special region of it own called “Sagittarius A*”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittarius_A*

  • latcheeco

    Or you could call it
    The Water Margins of Liang Shan Po

  • wee buns

    this northerner is amused 😀

  • Martin

    Think aul Craig tried changing the name of the 6 to Ulster in 1929 but his buddys in stormont wouldnt have it–out of respect for the abandoned 3

  • The Beagle

    I thought it was Westminster that wouldn’t bite, Martin. I couldn’t see the UUP of then having too much of an issue.

    The answer is simple, as soon as Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal see the error of their ways and beg to return to the family, we can start using “Ulster” again… 😉

    Seriously, I don’t see a problem with the name “Northern Ireland”… now if we could agree on a regional flag for NI, that’d be worthwhile!!!

  • Martin

    rainbow background with picture of Cu Culainn wearing a wife beater tee shirt for the flag—eberyone from P. Pearse to the loyalists seemed to like him—and julian simms should deffo be speaker for the assembly

  • Martin

    seriously–on the flag–whats wrong with red hand on white background– without the crown of course

  • lamhdearg

    For a flag red hand, cross of st pats (red x), back ground of choice green or blue or mixed, as for the country 7 counties get donegal back in and create a constitution that has as its mainstay that it requires a majority of 70% to vote the new nation of Ulster out of existance, this would give the former irish nats equity through numbers and it would give former unionists the confidence the they would not be forced into dublin rule without 70% wanting it.

  • The Beagle

    There is a facebook group on this if anyone here has any ideas!! LOL!! Not that many members, as yet…

  • martin

    when a UI comes about whether it be 10,30 or 100 years i recon the assembly should stay as a regional government –the other 3 could be invited to join but no more, well maybe louth and leitrim as well since they talk like us

  • lamhdearg

    Martin in europe are we all not regional governments, Ulster folk unite.

  • Alastair

    You sure you didn’t get this idea from snooping on facebook?! Looks very similar to an idea which i was trying to get folk interested in on facebook… i posted my ideas to the “New Flag for Northern Ireland” group (mentioned above) and also created a group called “Rename Northern Ireland as Ulster”… which unfortunately failed miserably with only three members!!

  • lamhdearg

    You sure you didn’t get this idea from snooping on facebook?! Alastair to whom do you address your post.

  • Rob

    Would assume the OP. But I would also assume it was light-hearted. No plagarism cases pending, I’m sure!

  • Alastair

    I was addressing my post to Drumlins Rock. Of course it was said in a joking way! At least someone else is putting the idea out there. The similarities were pointed out to me by someone who uses both this site and the group where i had been posting my ideas on Facebook. Whether suggested by myself or by Drumlin Rocks, the idea has definitely gone down like a lead balloon!!! Looks like a no starter i’m afraid.

  • Drumlin Rock

    will have to find that page, everyone else look for it and sign up too!

  • smellybigoxteronye

    Here is a map of Ireland in 1014:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Www.wesleyjohnston.com-users-ireland-maps-historical-map1014.gif

    Note that Ulster or “Ulidia” only consists of counties Antrim and Down at this time, therefore, it could be argued that it is quite valid to use the term Ulster to refer to Northern Ireland. However, given the inevitable squabbling that this will cause with the southerners nowadays how about actually renaming Northern Ireland simply “ULIDIA” instead of “Ulster”?!!