What on earth were they thinking: #Partitionists!!!

I have nationalist friends who seethe at the idea that the Republic has no so easily segued to being called Ireland, and the rest of us being called Northern Ireland. Semantically it squeezes out the notion of a broader (non national) identity of Irishman or Irishwoman.

Yet, that’s one of the outworkings of the Belfast Agreement. The claim on Northern Ireland, the Republic became internationally defined as Ireland. This is one of the reasons why some people believe the same agreement legitimises northern players plumping to represent the south in soccer.

So, when Reebok decided it would be a good idea to remind people of what the new, post GFA/Soccer Ireland actually looked like on their new tee shirt, they were in for a bit of a surprise:


Pretty ugly, huh? That’s what partition looks like from below, no wonder there was outrage!

Yet good things can, sometimes, come from adversity. The teeshirt is gone [replaced by what exactly? -Ed], which is nice. And here’s John Moynes’ inspired Limerick for today

The people from Reebok have said,
That an error made Conor see red,
No one wanted to make,
The silly mistake,
That left out the teddy bear’s head.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I would call it non-country rather than non national, but I guess United Countries Assembly doesn’t have the same ring.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Out of Interest Ultimate Fighting Championship is as American as Gridiron, so what exactly does Ireland Ultimate Fighting Championship refer to, a Tour or an Ireland based Federation?

  • Ernekid

    It looks horrible doesn’t it? It’s like a giant decided to pick up an Ireland shaped biscuit and took a great big bite out of Ulster. Poor wee Donegal Is up there all by itself. It sort of reminds me of the old maps where they had big blank spots labelled terra incognita or Here be dragons.

  • LiamÓhÉ

    Here be drummers

  • LiamÓhÉ

    I like the T-shirt. Shows that we are an incomplete and unfinished puzzle. For what it’s worth, I’m cool with the NI team incorporating what’s good from the ROI team, in some sort of mega-O’Neill squad with “God Save the Island” as anthem.

  • LiamÓhÉ

    Ditto for that fighty thingy so popular at the moment.

  • Nevin

    Is it a legless albatross in flight?

    “Yet, that’s one of the outworkings of the Belfast Agreement. The claim on Northern Ireland, the Republic became internationally defined as Ireland.”

    London has been a bit slow to recognise the ‘Ireland’ brand but Dublin has been using it for yonks. For example, two different cover pages to the 1985 Agreement.

  • Nevin

    and here’s Stormin Norman Parke from Bushmills in his Reebok gear all set for his walk-out on Saturday night!


  • Kevin Breslin
  • Barneyt

    At least it doesn’t show a north monaghan coast 🙂

  • #politicalpsychosis

  • Ernekid

    North Monaghan would be dramatically improved by a coastline ?

  • Newt

    To be kind to Reebok, this map is EXACTLY how Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour politicians think of and see Ireland.

  • Mac an Aistrigh

    I think you will find that this nomenclature derives from EU membership.

  • Nevin

    Mac, here’s a snippet from the 1937 constitution:

    Article 4
    The name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland.

    Article 5
    Ireland is a sovereign, independent, democratic state.

  • Sprite

    this is fun – countries without their geographic neighbour.

  • eireanne

    And marchers!!

  • Greenflag 2

    Northern Ireland is Gone – Hip Hip etc – Politicians from Westminster to Dublin to Jerusalem to Washington DC and Brussels will heave a collective sigh of relief 😉

    The Teddy Bear’s head may be empty .
    And it’s politics coarse and mean .
    But the soccer team of the Teddy Bear’s head
    Is no mean Green Machine .

    From an Ode to George Best (yet to be written )

  • Greenflag 2

    Is that Bosnia or Herzegovina ? Can’t be Spain for you left out the Balearics 😉

  • Greenflag 2

    Put yourself in their boots .Would’nt you do the same ? No votes in NI for those parties . Exactly how the DUP/UUP/TUP see Ireland is the reverse of the above . NI as an island . Ah well must’nt lose hope -Keep diggin lads yer nearly done 😉

  • Twilight of the Prods

    Well, thats what they get for never renaming the state ‘The Republic of Ireland’, just declaring that was ‘the description of the state’.

    Or if I can rub salt into partitionist wounds…. ‘Northern Ireland’ is the now the least inaccurately named political entity on the island. Its only one county short (Donegal). ‘Ireland’ is six counties out.

    …is keeping the 1937 tag of ‘Ireland’ a super soft focus nod to the aspiration of unity, or just simply 26 county nationalism? Or just not wanting to open a can of worms?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    And the Canaries

  • Mac an Aistrigh

    Point taken, Nevin; but I don’t think the framers of the 1937 Constitution envisaged the juxtaposition of ‘Ireland’ and ‘Northern Ireland’ as seen in EU documents. (Unionists did, of course, seize on the Irish language name ‘Eire’ as a means of making the distinction.)

  • Nevin

    Mac, Unionists AFAIK were more likely to use ‘the Free State’ and ‘the Republic’ than ‘Eire’, even though that was what they would have seen on coins and stamps.

    When I looked at branding twenty years ago I asked Dublin civil servants what term they used for the state: the senior ones mostly said ‘Ireland’ whereas others said ‘the Republic’. ‘Ulster’ and ‘Britain’ also lack clarity. In political conversations I mostly use ‘UK’ and ‘Ireland’ for the two states and ‘Northern Ireland’ for the disputed territory; in genealogy whatever labels inquirers use or the era concerned.

  • Greenflag 2

    There are more people living on the Canary Islands (2.1 million ) than in Northern Ireland (1.8 million ). Must be the sun 😉

  • MainlandUlsterman

    why the shock – those are its actual borders …

  • James7e

    I’m not clear where the outrage comes from. It is accurate. If you spend your time wishing that reality were other than it is, you doom yourself to perpetual unhappiness. This is a slump that many Irish nationalists seem to have fallen into over the last several generations.

  • Roger

    I like it. It reminds us of the reality.

  • Roger


  • Roger

    Or if I can rub salt into partitionist wounds…. ‘Northern Ireland’ is the now the least inaccurately named political entity on the island. Its only one county short (Donegal). ‘Ireland’ is six counties out. – No – If there were 2 halves to the island, it would take more than Donegal to give NI a half.

    The Germans lost places like East Prussia. They didn’t rename their country West Germany etc.

    Just because the UK retained part of the former Ireland, does not mean a person in Dublin is not Irish or his country Ireland. The state is appropriately named.

  • Roger

    Good one…The Baleraics, Ceuta, the Canaries and somewhere else I can’t think of.

  • Roger

    Mr. Frank McDermott of the Centre Party was the TD who moved Amendment No. 2 to the draft Constitution in 1937. That Amendment was to use the name ‘Ireland’ for the State. Dev had proposed ‘Eire’ in both the English and Irish language texts. In moving the amendment he said he wished “to see the country called in the English text by the name by which it is known to all English-speaking inhabitants of Ireland. There, again, one thinks about the people in the North. The advantages of talking about “Ireland,” as a whole, rather than about “Eire,” in that connection, are obvious.”

    Dublin University TD, Prof. Ernest Henry Alton spoke after and supported the proposed amendment. He said we would be “surrendering a great deal in surrendering the word “Ireland…I feel that we are surrendering the word to the North. I am rather jealous of that. Strictly speaking, they are “Northern Ireland” but they will call themselves “Ireland.”

    The framers may not have envisaged EU documents. Many probably didn’t envisage an EU. But I think they did indeed envisage the juxtaposition of there being an Ireland and a Northern Ireland.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    ‘Northern Ireland’ is certainly a more geographically and legally accurate description than the tediously irredentist “The North of Ireland”.

    ‘Northern’, contrary to what some B Division pedants assert, is a suitably more ambiguous geographical indicator than “the North of …”, for what it’s worth.

    Which is nothing really, it’s a pointless non-argument. The name of the place is Northern Ireland, simple.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Hmm, this explains a lot. The map seems to be crying out to be ‘completed’? Is this the source of the irrational urge, I wonder …
    Making the nation about territory and not people is why Irish nationalism has been hitting its head against a brick wall on this for almost a hundred years.

  • Palo

    The situation with terminology is a mess and causes so many unnecessary arguments. No wonder the majority of posters on that Guardian article are confused.

    A possible solution?: