Erin go Bragh (/ˌɛrɪn ɡə ˈbrɑː/ ERR-in gə BRAH), sometimes Erin go Braugh, is the anglicisation of an Irish language phrase, Éirinn go Brách, and is used to express allegiance to Ireland. It is most often translated as "Ireland Forever."[1]

Representation of the flag of Los San Patricios

Origin edit

Erin go Bragh is an anglicisation of the phrase Éirinn go Brách in the Irish language.[2]

The standard version in Irish is Éire go Brách, which is pronounced [ˈeːɾʲə ɡə ˈbˠɾˠaːx]. Some uses of the phrase will use Éirinn, which survives as the dative form in the modern standard form of Irish and is the source of the poetic form, Erin.[3][4]

The term brách is equivalent to 'eternity' or 'end of time', meaning the phrase may be translated literally as 'Ireland until eternity' or 'Ireland to the end (of time)'. Éire go Bráth (or Éirinn go Bráth) is also used in Irish and means the same thing. Go is a preposition, translatable as 'to', 'till/until', 'up to'.

Usage edit

1798 cartoon of Henry Grattan by James Gillray

United Irishmen edit

The phrase was used by the United Irishmen organisation in the 1790s.[5]

Emigrant nationalism edit

In 1847 a group of Irish volunteers, including U.S. Army deserters, joined the Mexican side in the Mexican–American War. These soldiers, known as Los San Patricios or Saint Patrick's Battalion, flew as their standard a green flag with a harp and the motto Erin Go Bragh.[6][7] Similar flag designs have been used at different times to express Irish nationalism.[8]

In 1862, when a large number of families on the estate of Lord Digby, near Tullamore, County Offaly, were given notice to quit, a local priest, Father Paddy Dunne, arranged passage for 400 people to Australia. A ship was chartered from the Black Ball Line and named the Erin-go-Bragh.[9] The voyage of the Erin-go-Bragh, a "crazy, leaky tub", took 196 days, the longest recorded passage to Australia.[10] A passenger nicknamed the ship the "Erin-go-Slow", but eventually it landed in Moreton Bay near Brisbane.[11]

A pub in Sydney, Australia, in the 19th century that catered to Irish immigrants was called The Erin-Go-Bragh.[12]

Unionism edit

At the height of decades of negotiation regarding home rule in Ireland, in the late 19th century the Irish Unionist Party used the slogan on a banner at one of their conventions, expressing their pride in Irish identity.[13]

Sport edit

In the late 19th century, the Edinburgh football club Hibernian F.C. adopted Erin Go Bragh as their motto[14] and it adorned their shirts accordingly. Founded in 1875 by Edinburgh Irishmen and the local Catholic Church, St Patrick's, the club's shirts included a gold harp set on a green background. The flag can still be seen at a lot of Hibernian matches to this day.

In 1887 a gaelic games club was set up in Clonsilla, Dublin under the name Erin go Bragh GAA. There is also an "Erin go Bragh GAA" club in Warwickshire, England.

In 1906, three Irishmen went to Athens, Greece to compete in the 1906 Intercalated Olympics as an Irish team independent of Britain. They had distinct uniforms and intended to compete for the first time as representatives of their own country. Once in Athens, the Irishmen became aware that the British committee had decided that they would instead compete under the British flag. Peter O'Connor won the silver medal for the long jump. As he was about to receive his medal he rushed towards the flag pole, climbed the pole, and flew the Erin Go Bragh flag, as the Tricolour had not yet received widespread acceptance. The other Irish athletes and a number of Irish-American athletes fended off security for a few minutes while the flag was flown. It was the first time an Irish flag had been flown at a sporting event.[15]

Other uses edit

Mother and child with an "Erin Go Bragh" banner during a Saint Patrick's Day Parade in New York, 1951
  • A traditional Scottish song from the 19th century entitled "Erin-go-Bragh" tells the story of a Highland Scot who is mistaken for an Irishman. The first two verses[16] are:

My name's Duncan Campbell from the shire of Argyll
I've travelled this country for many's the mile
I've travelled through Ireland, Scotland and a'
And the name I go under's bold Erin-go-bragh

One night in Auld Reekie as I walked down the street
A saucy big polis I chanced for to meet
He glowered in my face and he gi'ed me some jaw
Sayin' "When cam' ye over, bold Erin-go-bragh?"

— 19th Century Scottish song[17]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Encarta MSN Dictionary - "An expression (interjection) meaning Ireland forever"". Archived from the original on 14 October 2009.
  2. ^ Dolan, Terence Patrick (2020). A Dictionary of Hiberno-English. Gill Books. ISBN 9780717190744.
  3. ^ Pictet, Adolphe (1857). "Inquiry into the Origin of the Name of Ireland". Ulster Journal of Archaeology. 5: 52–60. ISSN 0082-7355.
  4. ^ "Where does the name Ireland come from?". 2 September 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  5. ^ Corfe, I. J. (2019). ""Erin go Bragh" in London: Irishness in the Nineteenth-Century English-Printed Street Ballad". Studies in Romanticism. 58 (4): 505–523. doi:10.1353/srm.2019.0032. ISSN 2330-118X.
  6. ^ "Flag of Batallón de San Patricio - The "San-Patricios", "Los Colorados", San Patricio Company". Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Tacubaya, August 27, 1847". The Politician and Weekly Nashville Whig. 27 August 1847. The banner is of green silk, and on one side is a harp, surmounted by the Mexican coat of arms [..] Underneath the harp is the motto 'Erin go Bragh'
  8. ^ Hayes-McCoy, Gerard Anthony (1979). A history of Irish flags from earliest times. Academy Press. pp. 120–125. ISBN 9780906187012.
  9. ^ Hogan, James Francis (1888). "Chapter 8". The Irish in Australia. Melbourne: George Robertson & Co. pp. 156–158. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  10. ^ Woolcock, Helen R. (1986). Rights of Passage: Emigration to Australia in the Nineteenth Century. Indiana: Tavistock Publications. p. 55. ISBN 9780422602402. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  11. ^ Hogan 1888, pp. 159, 161.
  12. ^ McGuire, Paul (1952). Inns of Australia. Melbourne: William Heinemann. p. 129.
  13. ^ Walker, Graham (2004). A History of the Ulster Unionist Party: Protest, Pragmastism and Pessimism. Manchester University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0719061091.
  14. ^ "Erin go Bragh". Hibernian F.C. 11 August 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  15. ^ 1906, Peter O'Connor and the 1906 Olympics, RTÉ, 21 May 2013, archived from the original on 21 December 2021, retrieved 11 September 2016 – via YouTube
  16. ^ ""Erin-go-Bragh" (19th century Scottish song)".
  17. ^ Cran, Angela; Robertson, James (1996). Dictionary of Scottish Quotations. Mainstream. p. 336. ISBN 1-85158-812-4.
  18. ^ "Handful of Earth". Topic Records. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  19. ^ On The Fly, 7 November 2007, retrieved 18 December 2023
  20. ^ Krugman, Paul (19 April 2009). "Opinion: Erin Go Broke". The New York Times.
  21. ^ "Memorable quotes for The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day". IMDb.
  22. ^ "Trimble, Joan | Dictionary of Irish Biography". Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  23. ^ Igoe, Brian (2009). The Story of Ireland. p. 227.