Earliest names of Ireland

John Johnson Marshall
Chapter I

There can be very few countries or kingdoms that have in addition to their usual name so many poetical and descriptive designations as the kingdom of Ireland. The successive waves of colonization together with a quick-witted and imaginative people have each contributed to this end. At the beginning of his history Keating enumerates fourteen names for the country, the first being “Island of the Woods,” or “Wooded Island” a name admirably descriptive of the forest clad country down till the end of the reign of Elizabeth. The third name is Inis Ealga, that is, “noble island,” which it is said to have borne during the Firbolg occupation. The Firbolgs were overcome by the Dedannans, who in their turn succumbed to the Milesians.