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The Offical Name of Ireland
The Constitution provides (Article 4) that the name of the State is �ire, or in the English language, Ireland. Normal practice is to restrict the use of the name �ire to texts in the Irish language and to use Ireland in all English-language texts, with corresponding translations for texts in other languages.

The Republic of Ireland Act of 1948 provides for the description of the State as the Republic of Ireland but this provision has not changed the usage of Ireland as the name of the State in the English language.

The root of the name �ire is uncertain and various theories have been advanced but there is no doubt but that it is a name of considerable antiquity. It first appears as Ierne in Greek geographical writings which may be based on sources as early as the 5th century BC. In Ptolemy's map (c AD 150) the name appears as Iouernia; some such form was transliterated into Latin as Iuverna.

The standard Latin form, Hibernia, first appears in the works of Caesar, who seems to have confused it with the Latin word hibernus (wintry). �riu, the Old Irish form of �ire, was current in the earliest Irish literature.

The modern English word Ireland derives from the Irish word �ire with the addition of the Germanic word Land. In mythology, �riu was one of three divine eponyms for Ireland, together with Banba and Fodla. The idea of Ireland as a heroine reappears as a common motif in later literature in both Irish and English.