An Ogham keyboard for a .éire web. If only! (Íomhá: Cléchlic)

The people of Wales now have two national domain names to register their websites with, “.cymru“ and “.wales”, reflecting their nation’s bilingual status. Of course in Ireland we still persist with the “.ie” domain, usually using the “/ga” extension to direct users to the Irish language pages of any particular website (.ie. = “ireland” not “ireland/éire” as some still claim). So for example the Government of Ireland maintains its online presence at “http://www.gov.ie”, all in the English language. However the Irish language version of the portal is maintained at “http://www.gov.ie/ga/”. Because, y’know, we like to treat our own language as a foreign language in our own country. That’s the Irish for you.

From Wales Online:

“Our new domains for Wales are coming this September and we are publishing the rules and processes for .cymru and .wales today. We ran a three-month consultation on our proposals and we believe that the decisions we have made will create a strong policy framework for .cymru and .wales to develop and grow.

We have our own distinctive identity and culture in Wales, and of course our own language. We have worked closely with the Welsh Government every step of the way to ensure that these new domains are good for Welsh businesses, good for Wales and support the Welsh language online.

So we are delighted to announce that not only will there be a restricted launch phase that will benefit businesses active in the Welsh market before the domains are opened up to everyone, but in a unique approach that has been developed especially for .cymru and .wales, both domain spaces will allow the registration of names that use the diacritic marks used in the Welsh language.

Commenting on the announcement, Ieuan Evans, Chair of the  Nominet Wales Advisory Group  said: “The new .cymru and .wales domains are an exciting opportunity for Wales to reach its full potential online by creating a platform for Brand Wales to become recognised worldwide.

We are absolutely committed to making these domains work for everyone in Wales and that they empower people to create and use Welsh language content.”

Jo Golley, leading Nominet’s Wales team says: “Today we have further been able to clarify our commitment to the Welsh language. The extensive technical measures we have put in place to allow diacritic marks to be used have been taken with the full intent of enabling people to use the range and subtlety of the Welsh language online. These important steps will enable a massive increase in Welsh language domain names on the internet.”

Meanwhile in Ireland its business as usual and no sign of a “.éire” now or any time in the future. So we’ll stick with “gov.ie” rather than “.rialtas.éire“. Because we’re Oirish, sure an’ begorrah!

13 comments on “.éire Versus .ie

  1. Because we’re Oirish, sure an’ begorrah!

  2. This saddens me. Do you have any idea what the interest is among Ireland’s general population to follow Wales’ example? I think having .Éire domains is incredibly important. It’s one thing for cultural identity to be stolen, another to never look for it once there’s an opportunity. This seems like a powerful and noncomplicated opportunity. It’s all part of reclaiming what belongs to you, I mean, in my opinion, only speaking for myself. Are there groups in Ireland advocating for Éire as the primary name for ireland generally because that’s what it is in Irish?

    • Very few people would even think of it I suspect because few people look at the technical end of the internet. It is just another medium, the same way few think about the technical processes behind producing a book or newspaper or whatever. But a wider level these things do have a cultural impact. There is a very good article on the importance of language visibility, and status that I must dig up.

      So far there is “.éire” campaign. There was a brief “ÉIRE” campaign to replace the “IRL” badges that appear on Irish vehicle number plates but it never gained traction.

      • That’s not really surprising.
        My colleagues do not even bother with fadas in other peoples’ names.
        They probably do not even have Irish keyboard layout installed/enabled, because English monoglots can live safely without it.

  3. The Irish state has no authority for creating/delegating a top level ccTLD. This is done by ICANN. .ie was delegated in 1987 and like all other ccTLD’s is based off the country codes assigned in ISO 3166 (back in 1974). .IE is not managed by any arm of the state anyways.

    There’s nothing stopping any third party from going out and seeing if they can get ICANN to delegate a .ei (or .éi)/ .éire domain to them, they just have to go through a rather painful process (With no guarantee that ICANN will accept

    • All true. However the government is authorised to regulate the registration of “.ie” domain names via legislation passed in the 2000s (though in practice IEDR retain control. The relationship of IEDR with Computer Services UCD and the latter’s roll as the ccTLD sponsor remains somewhat unclear).

      The successful registration of “.cymru” was supported by the Welsh Assembly and Executive. The SNP government in Edinburgh is supporting “.scot”. Various national domains have also been sponsored/authorised by national governments in recent years.

      So one would expect the Government of Ireland to sponsor a “.éire” submission to ICANN and then use it itself (“.rialtas.ie”, etc.). I agree that any group could campaign for it though local government/political backing in Ireland would be a prerequisite.

      • The problem with ccTLDs like .éire is that not every keyboard layout has é letter – that’s why absolute majority of domain names use basic Latin alphabet letters only.

        And that’s why there must be a redirect from .eire to .éire.

        • Yes, Jānis, but ICANN has now opened up ccTLDs to non-Latin characters as we have seen with the Cyrillic and Arabic scripts. So “.éire” is perfectly possible (with “.eire” as a redirect if required) since Irish uses Latin-based diacritics.

          “é” is simply AltGr+E which should be taught in schools (if we had a decent computing-orientated curriculum as in Estonia, etc.).

          It could be done. However the will doesn’t seem to be there. Yet again apathy rules.

          • There’s no é letter in my current keyboard layout. AltGr+E gives me ē instead.

            To switch keyboard layouts just to input an url is just silly and very inconvenient.
            Especially on mobile devices.
            That’s why nearly everyone uses basic Latin alphabet only for their domains – people see domains with diacritics as a novelty without practical purpose.

            nic.lv, for example, started to offer internationalised domain name registrations in 2004.
            (one of the first registries in the world to do so)

            And more than 10 years later – hardly anyone uses them.

            • Old school thinking 😉 Wait until the Arab world catches up with the West or when China comes to dominate. Not to mention India and the growing demand for Hindu layouts (or physical keyboards).

              My PC and laptop both came with the Irish keyboard layout active. And my last two work PCs were the same. Perhaps your PC is not localized to Ireland?

              • The Irish keyboard layout is available on my PC, but I’m not using it.
                I’m using the Latvian layout which is compatible with standard QWERTY keyboards and allows me to type in both Latvian and English.

                The problem with those so called “internationalised” domain names is that they can’t be used internationally.
                Because people simply don’t know how to input characters they’re not familiar with.
                Good luck finding which layouts contain letters like ț ŗ ǩ .

  4. Yes that’s true. But that’s all the more reason why we need to standardize keyboards to better reflect the increasingly global world in which we live. Irish, Welsh, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, are all languages that use diacritical symbols and characters other than the Roman alphabet and there are many many more examples besides. Isn’t it bad enough that western, i.e. usually American, culture imposes its beliefs and values on other countries and uses our interests, desires, and idiologies as the measure of what is good, right, or relevant? Certainly a global world ought not be the equivalent of the western world without question. One instance in which to make such a point clear as day would be to insist that all languages be represented and be made representable by or within social media and electronic devices of all kinds. For those countries that act as empires such a thing ought to be necessitated. Whether that happens is another issue, but that it would start to call into question at least one way in which “western” practice broadly construed is not the only practice, seems quite probable. In my opinion inclusion and ways to foster it are important to implement and advocate for whenever possible. So practically speaking, using .Eire on websites would be settling for unneeded compromise. It’s really not a big deal to think about other countries in designing products, (though it does take a bit of imaginative empathy.) I don’t live in Ireland but recall hearing that Eire without the acute accent means something about burdens and was issued on coins and caused a lot of bad feelings…could this be where terms like eric fine come from? Since Ireland is actually called Éire, if it were up to me—if—I wouldn’t settle for less.

    • I tend to agree, Éilis. Writing a word without the all the components of that word render it meaningless (or give it another meaning altogether!). Non-Latin domain names have been active since 2010. It is now four years on and they are in widespread use. It is certainly not a case of reinventing the wheel. It’s all been done already 😉

      The Greeks are a great example of a minority language and alphabet that has used the opening up of the registry in recent years to make the internet their own. Many others will follow.

      Of course I would love to see the Cló Gaelach back again but that is another day’s work! 😉

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