Éire / Éireann/ Éirenn / Éirinn / Erin
Ériu was a Queen and patron goddess of Ireland around the time of the Milesian invasion. She was seen as the Goddess of Irish Sovereignty along with her sisters, Banba and Fódla. Ériu’s name is thought mean ‘earth, soil’ or ‘plentiful’, as well as ‘fat land’ or ‘land of abundance’.
Ériu was the daughter of Fiachna mac Delbaeth and Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the mythical race of people who inhabited Ireland before the Celts. Her husband was thought to be Mac Gréine (‘Son of the Sun’), who was the son of Oghma and grandson to the Dagda. Ériu’s son Bres was also known as Bres Mac Elatha, which could indicate her relationship with Elatha, a prince of the Fomorians. Bres later became High King of Ireland after Nuada, but was quickly found unfit to rule and replaced by Lugh. Ériu was also thought to be the lover of the hero Lugh.
The Book of Invasions, Lebor Gabála Érenn, describes how Ériu, Banba and Fódla each met with the Milesian bard Amergin. Each made a deal with Amergin about the impending invasion asking that their name be given to the new land. This request was granted, with Ériu or Éire being the most common name, however Banba and Fódla are still sometimes used as poetic names for Ireland.
Today the Gaelige name for Ireland is Éire, and the proper name of the Republic of Ireland is Poblacht na hÉireann. Ériu is thus seen as the modern day personification of the island of Ireland and a source of pride to the Irish people.
© The New Pagan (2014)