Ulster - Terminology


The name Ulster comes from the Irish Cúige Uladh meaning "fifth of the Ulaidh". The Ulaidh were a group of tribes who dwelt in the region, while "fifth" refers to the five regions into which ancient Ireland was divided. In English, the first part of the name ("Ul") refers to the Ulaidh. The latter part of the name ("ster") comes either from the English possessive ending -s and Irish tír (Ulaidhs tír) or the Old Norse staðr, both of which mean "land" or "territory".

Ulaidh (or Cúige Uladh) has historically been anglicized as Ulagh or Ullagh and Latinized as Ulidia or Ultonia. The latter two have yielded the terms Ulidian and Ultonian. The Irish word for someone or something from Ulster is Ultach. Words that have been used in English are Ullish and Ulsterman/Ulsterwoman.

Northern Ireland is often referred to as 'Ulster', despite including only six of Ulster's nine counties. This usage is most common amongst people in Northern Ireland who are unionist, although it is also used by the media throughout the United Kingdom. Some people, mainly Irish nationalists, object to this use of the term.

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