Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Ireland

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
or Erin is Celtic; from Eri or Iar (western). Lloyd (State Worthies, article “Grandison”), with a gravity which cannot but excite laughter, says the island is called the land of Irc because of the broils there, which have extended over four hundred years. Wormius derives the word from the Runic Yr, a bow. (See below.)   1
   Ireland.   2
   Called by the natives “Erin,” i.e. Eri-innis, or Iar-innis (west island).   3
   By the Welsh “Yver-den” (west valley).   4
   By Apule’ius, “Hiber’nia,” which is Iernia, a corruption of Iar-inni-a.   5
   By Juvenal (ii. 260) “Juverna” or “Juberna,” the same as Ierna or Iernia.   6
   By Claudian “Ouernia,” the same.   7
   By moderns “Ireland,” which is Iaren-land (land of the west).   8
   ¶ The three great saints of Ireland are St. Patrick, St. Columba, and St. Bridget.   9
   The fair maid of Ireland. Ignis fatuus (q.v.).   10
        “He had read in former times of a Going Fire, called ‘Ignis Fatuus,’ the fire of destiny; by some, ‘Will with the Wisp,’ or ‘Jack with the Lantern;’ and likewise, by some simple country people, ‘The Fair Maid of Ireland,’ which used to lead wandering travellers out of their way.”—The Seven Champions of Christendom, i. 7.
   The three tragic stories of the Irish. (1) The death of the children of Touran; (2) the death of the children of Lir; (3) the death of the children of Usnach. (O’Flanagan: Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, vol. i.)   11
   Dean Ireland’s scholarships. Four scholarships of £30 a year in the University of Oxford, founded by Dr. John Ireland, Dean of Westminster, in 1825, for Latin and Greek. They are tenable for four years.   12
        The same person founded an “Exegetical Professorship” of £800 a year.



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