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.
“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!