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Talk:Britain and Ireland

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Ummm... my grasp on European geography is a bit hazy but wouldn't the Channel Islands and the Hebrides etc belong on this page?

I think the Channel Islands deserve a place here, as does the Isle of Man. I'm not sure about the Hebrides (or the Orkney Islands, or the Shetland Islands), since they all belong to Scotland. They (more than) probably deserve a separate article, but should there be a link on this level? D.D. 05:38, 9 Aug 2003 (PDT)
I'd link them then... this is a heirachical sort of index, so it they technically belong to Scotland then indent them under there. KJ

Looking good! :) KJ

No it's not! This is crappo. Can someone who knows more about the Isles please make some region pages and stuff? This is going to be a real tarpit if it goes on much longer. -- Evan 06:12, 7 Nov 2003 (PST)


I reverted the changes made by AVW2343, who added two English regions. These were more suited to the England page, as the term 'North East' isn't used in a British Isles context. In any case, the northeast of the British Isles would be somewhere around Stornoway geographically. Or maybe Derry. I also split the United Kingdom into its constituent nations. It seems more logical. Professorbiscuit 19:30, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)

Small Isles[edit]

I always thought that the Small Isles are part of the Hebrides. Wojsyl 17:33, 28 Dec 2004 (EST)

The phrase "British Isles"[edit]

This really should not be left without a comment right up front. It is deeply offensive to many Irish people and as ridiculous as a Frenchman referring to his "Algerian colony" or a Englishwoman titling a webpage "The British Empire" and including descriptions of the now independent India, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe etc. Please don't delete the clarification of this again. It makes this wikitravel page look arrogant and insular. Thanks. J.

Would it be better to split the content. Make new pages called Irish Republic and United Kingdom then redirect the British Isles page to a simple (disambiguation page): United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Small islands) and Republic of Ireland (Eire)' ? -py
Yes, I think that would be a reasonable solution that avoids the confusion and politicisation. J.
A storm in a teacup. The British Isles is the established term, just as the Irish Sea is the Irish Sea despite bordering England, Scotland and Wales as well as Ireland

Exile 17:07, 2 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Quite. It's the same treatement that New Zealand receives in Australasia in terms of continent naming.
Not true. In Wikitravel New Zealand is a country in the Oceania region, quite equivalent in naming and all other respects to Australia. --Inas 19:41, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
Er, it is by no means the "established term" considering the term is rarely if ever used in Ireland. A quick visit to the wikipedia article on "British Isles" will give you 24 archives of resistance to this term, and documented official Irish government objections to its use, combined with its total absense from every single international treaty between the states of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Perhaps if you got out of your British nationalist shell for a moment you would realise this quickly. PS: There is no state called the "Irish Republic". None. 'Ireland' is the full, internationally recognised, name of this state, and 'Republic of Ireland' is the full internationally recognised description of this state. If you don't know such basic facts, at least avoiding feigning expertise on Irish related issues. 22:03, 10 January 2009 (EST)
There is no doubt looking around the Web that British Isles is still a term in common use - check google. There is also little doubt that it is a geographical description in decline, with many other travel guides, commercial sites, etc deliberately choosing to no longer use the term. It also has various interpretations, with the channel islands being variously excluded and included in the term. Personally, I doubt a regional term will emerge to replace British Isles, and it is likely that Britain and Ireland, or UK and Ireland will be the term that settles into common use. This is not fully determined as yet. Wikitravel currently uses British and Irish Isles, which jars a little, probably as the result of trying to reach consensus between geography and politics. It was an attempt to not exclude the Isle of Man from the region. I'm confident over time Wikitravel will move forward with a more common regional naming as that emerges. For now, redirects exist for the other common geographical names out there, and building some content to make it an article worth renaming would be good. --Inas 19:54, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
I find it equally offensive that the article primarily uses a non-standard term such as "Britain and Ireland" over the standard "British Isles". It is simply pandering to an extreme Irish Republican PoV, and ignores the reality of the strong commonalities that we have throughout the entire archipelago. (added by, August 2010)
I'd say you are obviously correct; the article should never have been moved from its original and correct title "British Isles". However, it was. See discussion below and at Talk:Europe/Hierarchy#British_Isles.
At this point, I'm reluctant to move it back. I feel rather strongly that that is the correct thing to do, but I do not think I should do it without discussion and I really doubt that having another such discussion is worth the trouble. Pashley 01:19, 10 August 2010 (EDT)
I believe most users agreed on using British Isles except for a few Irish who felt sensitivity with the name. Britain and Ireland is a sort of compromise. --globe-trotter 06:49, 10 August 2010 (EDT)
I'm thinking the discussion would have been a lot less contentious if we'd ignored those folks. LtPowers 14:59, 10 August 2010 (EDT)
You mean by ignoring the Irish people that feel insulted for not even being recognised when you don't even include the name of their country (Ireland when talking about it ("British Isles"). Ireland is not British in any way, shape or form. You need to realise that they're may be more people in the UK than in Ireland but the opinion of most Irish people and our government still matter! IRELAND DOES NOT LIKE THE TERM "BRITISH ISLES"! It's almost a guarantee that if it were called the Irish isles then everyone in the UK would be unhappy. The only reason it's called British is because England held the power in the past but those days are over, it's the 21st century now and in a time of political correctness you have to recognise Ireland! MonaghanMan —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)
Ireland is one of the countries in the British Isles. The British Isles comprise the islands of Ireland, Great Britain, and other minor islands. That is simple fact. The name of the archipelago has nothing to do with the governance of same; it's an unfortunate accident of linguistic history that the United Kingdom is often referred to as Britain. LtPowers 21:11, 20 August 2010 (EDT)

The correct facts are. British Isles is a historical and now a geographical term, and denotes 'isles' that are British. Ignorance to and, nay, reticence - by British government policy makers to change its geographical definition, is solely at fault. The UN Charter is the vehicle to resolve such disputes. The use of the term is not political, its geographical. Its not a question of like or dislike. Ireland or its isles, legitimately, are not British isles in the same way the Falkland isles (or islands) are no longer known geographically as Islas Malvinas (Argentina) or Isles Malouines (French) as a geographical entity, though both countries once held sovereignty over that country and those terms were geographically used once. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Gosh, I'm so glad you came in here to properly inform all of us ignoramuses who have merely been going by what authoritative sources say. All this time we could have have just asked you, huh? LtPowers 09:29, 16 August 2011 (EDT)

VFD debate[edit]

  • Why on earth do we have this? — Ravikiran 02:04, 4 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Oppose. The "British Isles" is a well known geographic term and describes a general destination. It doesn't have to be a long or comprehensive article, just point you in the right direction. A few people take umbrage over the term, but the present "health warning" should mollify them. I do agree that it is a bit of an outdated term, but not strongly enough to justify deleting it. -- DanielC 16:37, 4 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Wouldn't it make sense to redirect this to United Kingdom? Since Éire doesn't want to be called by this name, and Man and the Channels are officially loyal to the Crown, would anyone be seriously offended by that? (Not rhetorical: I'm asking.) If they would, why not instead limit this page to a disambig-style explanation that the term is confusing, and refer them directly to the Republic, the Kingdom, etc. rather than treating it like this, as a level of our geographic hierarchy? - Todd VerBeek 20:39, 4 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Keep since it's a well known geographical term, but convert to a disambig page for Ireland and UK since it's an archaic term. -- Colin 21:05, 4 May 2006 (EDT)
  • I like Colin's idea. Majnoona 21:49, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Me too. Pashley 22:24, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
    • I tried to convert it to a disambig page. If people like it, I'll close this vfd. -- Jonboy 11:09, 19 May 2006 (EDT)

Disambiguation or Region[edit]

Europe currently links here as a region, so this can't be a disambiguation page. I've removed the disambiguation tag, and replaced it with a style tag for now. I'll also raise the issue for discussion over at Talk:Europe/Hierarchy --Inas 22:32, 18 December 2008 (EST)


I really prefer the old intro (the one I restored from May 2006). The "mostly obsolete" bit strikes me as just incorrect. I get 34.4 million hits for "British Isles" on google. I never even realized it was politically sensitive until this came up on Wikitravel. It's definitely the most common name to describe this archipelago, and we default to the most common geographic name. We should note that it's politically sensitive in Ireland, and move on with the business of writing travel guides. --Peter Talk 23:57, 18 December 2008 (EST)

Wikipedia [1] says There is evidence that ... "Britain and Ireland" is becoming a preferred description [over the British Isles]. I don't think you can say categorically there is no controversy over whether it is obsolete, given that statement. Many of the results in a Google search reference Ireland separately. And some also include Ireland and the Channel Islands. I'm sure you appreciate more that most that a good structure, and not annoying entire countries full of potential contributors are both pre-requisites for a good travel guide. I don't think this discussion isn't necessarily a distraction from that. --Inas 00:23, 19 December 2008 (EST)
I've removed the "obsolete part.
Your non-authoritative source says "There is evidence..." and cites some sources. I remain unimpressed. Google gives 2 million-odd hits for "Britain and Ireland" vs 31 million for "British Isles". Google is not authoritative either, but at least it bears some relation to our policy of using the "most common" term.
Pointing out that that the term offends some is fine, perhaps even necessary. Beyond that we should not go, any more than we should change San_Francisco/Fisherman's_Wharf because it might be "sexist". Pashley 01:53, 19 December 2008 (EST)
The google search is going to be misleading here. Firstly, you don't know what the term is used to refer to. As I said, check the top few results, and the meaning is different in each. Secondly, if you don't use the grouping British Isles, the chances are that the words Britain and Ireland will naturally fall further apart. If you wanted make a list of Tesco stores in the British Isles, and then you stopped using that term, the chances are you would just list the British Tesco stores, and then the Irish ones, so you wouldn't get the same number of hits. Given that the name is used for several different groupings, has been rejected by one of the two countries it covers, and there are alternatives, I don't know why we would use it.
In any event, I'm completely lacking any form of support for my opinion, so I'm happy to leave it at that for now. Maybe things will fall better into place in the future. --Inas 00:49, 22 December 2008 (EST)
Well, Scandinavia vs Nordic countries is a good example, if New Zealand isn't. The problem of course being since we already have separate guides for the UK and Ireland, it isn't a very suitable name for the way we organise content "Europe > United Kingdom & Ireland > United Kingdom" isn't working for me, and "Europe > United Kingdom & Ireland > Isle of Man/Channel Islands" is just going to upset them, rather than the Irish. This is indeed a Gordian knot, but I prefer taking the fight with angry Irish men, for something which I find perfectly sensible any day. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 20:17, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
Oh, and as far as I understand it, if we replace United Kingdom with Britain, the correct region name would be "Britain, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland" or something like that, since Northern Ireland isn't included in the term Britain, and loyalists would find Ireland offensive. *sigh* --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 20:20, 6 April 2009 (EDT)


Why tag this as a stub? That includes the text "Please plunge forward and help it grow!". We don't want it to grow; that would just invite more useless controversy.

We could tag it Guide since it says everything that needs to be said here. I think it is better to leave it untagged. Pashley 23:44, 21 December 2008 (EST)

It has no template. Shouldn't a region article at least have a template? We need a new article type..
This article has been swept under the carpet and doesn't need any more attention. It does not have a template, but please ignore it, look the other way, and work on something else less controversial!  :-)
--Inas 00:05, 22 December 2008 (EST)
I think this is effectively a disambiguation page -- all it needs to say that there's no content here, so look under X and Y instead. Jpatokal 06:45, 22 December 2008 (EST)

Deletion discussion[edit]

Wikitravel:Votes for deletion/January 2009#British Isles:

British Isles[edit]

Delete. This article is nothing more than a magnet for controversy. Just about every edit has been disputed, since the articles creation. Its useless as a disambig - who would really search for British Isles, and expect to be disamb'ed to Isle of Man, Ireland etc. Leave WIkipedia to argue what it means, we don't need it here. In policy terms, it should be deleted because it is not a destination, not a region, and there is no clear place to redirect it to. --Inas 18:11, 18 December 2008 (EST)

  • Keep It is a standard geographical term. It was proposed for deletion before and kept, see talk page. Pashley 18:56, 18 December 2008 (EST)
What is the basis for the standard? See wikipedia British_Isles_naming_dispute [2]. The best standard they can quote there is a difctionary and British atlases. Do we want a piece of this? The last vfd ended in trying a disambig. I support those who decided that it was worth a try, but it has clearly now failed. Again, the question should not be if it is a standard term, but does it advance the guide, and help the traveler. --Inas 19:11, 18 December 2008 (EST)
You saying British Isles isn't a region is wrong. It is a geographical area of Britain/Ireland if my memory is correct. Please be careful, because it does exist, the thing is, that there are multiple terms for these areas, although not specifically that whole are alike: Britain, UK, United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Ireland (incl N Ire), United K, Great Britain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Northern Ire., GB, etc. edmontonenthusiast [ee] .T.A.L.K. 19:17, 18 December 2008 (EST).
Sorry - I mean it isn't a wikitravel region, not that it isn't a region at all. It isn't one of the regions we have chosen to define as a wikitravel region article. Please take the time to read the wikipedia article, before you try to conclude what it contains. [3]. Thanks. --Inas 19:30, 18 December 2008 (EST)
Thanks! But my saying in what it is was correct [4] so there is no point in that truly. Anyways, I think it's fine as a redirect as it is a commonly used term but it still isn't what were after. edmontonenthusiast [ee] .T.A.L.K. 19:33, 18 December 2008 (EST).
Its fine to say it is a commonly used term - but what is it a commonly used term for? A redirect is only useful if it can redirect to something. It is apparent there is no consensus on what to redirect it to, and it is going to continue to be a source of contested edits and reversions. We have to manage this stuff for some areas, because it essential information for the traveller. But noone is going to travel to the British Isles and wonder where they will end up. Its of no use to the traveller at all, and we don't want to be wikipedia. To back up what you say, you should go to the article, and revert the latest change, which disagrees with the link you just posted. --Inas 19:45, 18 December 2008 (EST)
What change? It is usually a word used to describe Ireland and UK. It isn't really travel related, but many people know it and people may type it up, where they get a disambungion page which is fine cause it links to all those places. edmontonenthusiast [ee] .T.A.L.K. 20:03, 18 December 2008 (EST).
EE, it doesn't currently point to those places. The last change removed Ireland. Have a look at the current article and the most recent changes. If you feel it should include Ireland, I suggest you revert the change, and join in the fun. --Inas 21:39, 18 December 2008 (EST)
One of the few things I'm rather conservative about is geographical terms. For example, I prefer Calcutta and Burma to Kolkatta and Myanmar, though of course I want disambig pages for the other names. So as I see it, "British Isles" is a sensible thing to have a disambig for and of course the term includes Ireland; the whole point of it is to have name for Britain+Ireland+miscellaneous.
So if we keep it, it needs some rewriting. I'd be willing to have a shot at that. I think it can be made acceptable to all by drawing a clearer distinction between the mostly obsolete geographical term and the political divisions.
On the other hand, some folks do seem to object to the term and arguing about it is pointless. I will not object too strongly if the consensus is to delete. Pashley 20:32, 18 December 2008 (EST)
ditto but i won't help cause you seem to get it. edmontonenthusiast [ee] .T.A.L.K. 20:51, 18 December 2008 (EST).
I just feel bad about reverting a change that I feel was made by a contributor in good faith. I appreciate your offer to have a go at the page. --Inas 21:39, 18 December 2008 (EST)
Keep. Per last time, this should be a disambig page that tells the traveler why the term is deprecated and then point the traveler in the right direction for info. -- Colin 21:08, 18 December 2008 (EST)
  • Keep. But the situation is a little different this time—it is now a Wikitravel region, although it has not yet been developed as one. If we decide to appease current political correctness, we could remove it from the hierarchy, but that's a discussion for Talk:Europe/Hierarchy. If left a disambiguation, though, it clearly should include Ireland. That's what the term British Isles has always meant, and the politics of it are not particularly relevant. --Peter Talk 21:43, 18 December 2008 (EST)
  • Keep. Disambiguation is critical here, and we don't want to leave someone hanging should they choose to search for this term. If contentious editing is a problem, protect the page; the links within aren't going to change. LtPowers 21:46, 18 December 2008 (EST)
    • Hmm, I still say keep, but I'm not sure it should be a disambiguation page. Right now there's no good way to follow links from Europe to Ireland, because British Isles doesn't link to Ireland, even though Ireland IsIn the British Isles region! I'm all for using another term if the Irish truly despise "British Isles", but we have to group them together somehow. LtPowers 21:49, 18 December 2008 (EST)
Peter and LtPowers have it right. This issue is bigger than just a delete, due to the Europe regioning, so this article isn't really a candidate for deletion, and for now needs to include Ireland to avoid it being orphaned out of Europe. Its clear that it can't just be a disambig page, which is what lead me down this path originally. Linking to a disambig page is wrong at the best of times, but to link there from Europe is clearly an error. In any event this dicussion needs to move to Talk:Europe/Hierarchy --Inas 22:28, 18 December 2008 (EST)
I rewrote it. Comments on the actual rewrite solicited, here or on article talk page. Comment on broader issues to Talk:Europe/Hierarchy.Pashley 23:30, 18 December 2008 (EST)
  • Redirect but not sure where. Part of the problem with our clump of landmasses is that we have so many names... England/Wales/Scotland/N.I., Britain, Great Britain, British Isles, United Kingdom of whatever-we-are, etc. This means it is confusing for people from here (like myself) as well as travellers. Perhaps what we need is a single page that covers everything as a central "where to go next" and have the redirecting terms protected to prevent them from being changed (with a note on the relevant talk pages to explain why this is being done).

I know it sounds a fairly bureaucratic solution, but it may be the easiest way of aleviating the confusion? Nrms 07:08, 22 December 2008 (EST)

I think this is sort of silly, but if there is objections the only other term I really would find useful is British-Irish Isles, so what about a move and redirect to there? --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 07:42, 22 December 2008 (EST)

Keep. I understand why this term causes such controversy due to the political connotations of the word "British", but unfortunately there is no other geographical term that I am aware of for the island group in question. Sermann's suggestion of British-Irish Isles unfortunately has no precedent that I am aware of, and, to me at least, would imply that it was a guide to all the little islands that lie off the coasts of the bigger islands we call "Great Britain" and "Ireland". I have to agree with Nrms that perhaps locking the page and letting the debate rage on the Talk Page may be the best solution. Ultimately this is supposed to be a Travel Guide, which people turn to for help with travelling. The page needs to stand for that reason, but I see no reason for it to be any more detailed than it is already. Certainly the text about the Irish objections to the term should stay. Tarr3n 05:08, 23 December 2008 (EST)

  • Keep, but as a disambig listing the bits and pieces under it, not a full-blown article, and call the region in Europe with the name "United Kingdom and Ireland" (two links to two countries). Jpatokal 06:32, 23 December 2008 (EST)
Please contribute this point of view to Talk:Europe/Hierarchy as the arguments there run against this change, and preserving the article as a region. --Inas 19:54, 5 January 2009 (EST)
Speedy Delete. This term is archaic, hegemonic and widely resisted in Ireland. It is an assertion of a particularly resented British claim to Ireland and over the Irish people. Nothing more, and nothing less. Anybody with a scintilla of honesty should have no problem understanding the politics of this term. If in doubt, go to Wikipedia's "British Isles" page and its 24 archives of Irish resistance to this blast from the days of Britannia ruling the waves. 'Atlantic Archipelago' and 'Britain and Ireland' are two of many alternative names which do not cause offense. 22:09, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Speedy Delete.Britian isn't comprised of two islands. Ireland is seperate and non related. IONA (Islands of the North Atlantic) is more approriate
  • Keep, as an article! This is a commonly known geographic term or region that travellers would refer to. It doesn't necessarily need to be part of any hierarchy and could be mentioned as part of the Islands of the North Atlantic Remember the traveller comes first. - Huttite 01:19, 26 January 2009 (EST)

Result: I'm cutting the Gordian knot. The article has been moved to British and Irish Isles (after deleting the copy+paste that was already there). I'm leaving the redirect as an extremely likely search term. This should be a reasonable compromise. LtPowers 08:51, 26 January 2009 (EST)

Post-vfd discussion[edit]

While it may seem a reasonable compromise I think it's a bad article title. It's not a term that's in general use, and so it misleads the reader about naming practice in the area, for the sake of political correctness. Far better to call it British Isles and then state in the article that this is a geographic term to which some Irish people object. Andyfarrell 19:24, 4 April 2009 (EDT)
British Isles offends, so lose it. British people do not use it as a form of linguistic hegemony, but as a cack-handed way of referring to the region (and it is a sensible region in travel and cultural terms) as a whole. British and Irish Isles is a phrase I have never heard in 36 years of living in both islands, and is a awful invention. 'Britain and Ireland' is what this area of the world is naturally called. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .
And what about the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands? LtPowers 20:01, 12 April 2009 (EDT)
What about them? Both are British politically, though not technically part of the UK, and are part of the island group we are talking about. Anyone hearing the term 'Britain and Ireland' would understand the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands to be part of that group. 'British and Irish Isles' is a fairytale name used by no one except yourself. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Yes, they are part of the British Isles, but they are neither Britain, nor Ireland. LtPowers 13:47, 6 May 2009 (EDT)

For the record, I am still of the opinion that Evan was right the first time this came up:

The British Isles is the name we use for the cluster of islands off the northwest edge of Europe. No matter some Irish people's distaste for any meager association with the UK, Ireland just isn't tucked somewhere between Austria and Switzerland. It's in this island group.
The traveller comes first on Wikitravel. We need to call a spade a spade. We're not going to make a map that shows Ireland anchored off the coast of France, and we're not going to bowlderize the geographical hierarchy just so two countries who don't like each other don't get mentioned on the same page. This isn't kindergarten -- it's a travel guide. --Evan 11:01, 19 Jan 2004 (EST)

The discussion should have ended there. "British Isles" is obviously the correct name. The best course now would be to move it back there and delete the current nonsense title.

Others have suggested moving it to "UK & Ireland" or "Britain & Ireland". I see those as silly and unnecessary sops to political correctness, but could grumblingly accept a consensus to use one of them.

I still object strenuously to using fabricated terms like "Atlantic Archipelago" or nonsense like "British and Irish Isles", or ""Ireland and the British Isles" which seems to say Ireland is not part of the British Isles. Pashley 20:32, 16 July 2009 (EDT)

See also Talk:Europe/Hierarchy#British_Isles.

I don't appreciate my attempt at compromise being called nonsense. I concede it's not a term that's in wide use, but it is at least accurate and inoffensive to the residents there. I completely agree that the article should be British Isles but that was causing no end of disruption; this title at least has been relatively stable. LtPowers 11:29, 17 July 2009 (EDT)
If you agree it should be "British Isles", then put it back where it belongs! Pashley 23:05, 17 July 2009 (EDT)
I fear a return to the acrimony that was on display when this article was at that title. LtPowers 09:48, 18 July 2009 (EDT)

Delete. They are different nations. This page is offensive, its too contraversial and full to the neck with factual innaccuracies. Collinsmichael (talk) 05:03, 27 January 2019 (EST)


Should we give this a full region article template now? It's a clear part of our regional hierarchy, and we're no longer trying to hide the page behind some sort of political tip-toeing, so is there any reason to keep it in its stubby form? --Peter Talk 18:09, 2 February 2009 (EST)

I still don't think there's anything meaningful to say about it as a region... Jpatokal 21:47, 2 February 2009 (EST)
I don't think that's reason to leave it a stub. I say go ahead and add the template. LtPowers 19:55, 4 February 2009 (EST)
What better reason could there be? Keep it as a disambig. Jpatokal 00:33, 5 February 2009 (EST)
Are you suggesting that the United Kingdom, Isle of Man, and Ireland should be direct descendants of Europe in the hierarchy, then, without an intervening region? LtPowers 08:49, 5 February 2009 (EST)
We put the full template on all sorts of regions about which there isn't much meaningful to say (endless quantities of articles about U.S. counties come to mind). Should we stop doing that? Anyway, I disagree that there isn't much to say about the region, although much of it has already been said at the country/territory level. I can at least imagine a decent article written on the topic of this archipelago. --Peter Talk 13:51, 5 February 2009 (EST)
Unlike many other regions, this one really can be a destination in itself. Certainly visiting UK and Ireland in one trip is very much a done thing. I see more reason for a template here than many others.. --Inas 17:07, 5 February 2009 (EST)
Yeah, and expanded section on Irish sea ferries, Ireland-Northern Ireland border practicalities, details on implications of the Common travel area for foreign visitors travelling between the two countries, are all subjects that I think could be covered in greater detail than in the country pages, with good results. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 19:12, 5 February 2009 (EST)


I just noticed the colors on the map are a bit off the color-coding in the article. Northern Ireland is color-coded as a part of the Channel Islands, according to the map. Not to get nit-picky, but the United Kingdom should actually probably all be the same purple color that the color-code displays. I'm not saying travellers are necessarily dumb enough to get confused, but the Northern Ireland thing is particularly noticeable. ChubbyWimbus 00:39, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

Also, I'm curious as to why this template wasn't used for the map on the United Kingdom page. That one is really quite an eyesore! The color scheme is awful! It looks like a Paint program map! ChubbyWimbus 00:48, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

That was done by someone who wanted to enforce their list of cities - by refusing to add cities to the map which they didnt approve... —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Ooh! Conspiracy theory. Except the mapmaker also uploaded the .svg for the UK map, so it's easily editable by anyone. Gorilla Jones 13:38, 12 July 2009 (EDT)
And I seriously doubt that Stefan either cares or knows about these old silly controversies. Anyway, I've edited the map to add a bunch more English cities. --Peter Talk 18:33, 13 July 2009 (EDT)


I know this was previously a hot topic of discussion - but can someone clarify how the list of cities is now decided upon etc? I can understand the capital cities being there - but how are the other cities put on the list ahead of others?

This was debated at length on the UK page. The conclusion in the end was that the list should match the map. I personally think that capitals aside, cities on this list should be those that narrowly missed out on the UK page list - saves duplication. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

That was not the conclusion of this ill-treated dead horse. (There were also extraordinarily long discussions here and here.) Nor is it how things operate on Wikitravel—ideally, maps should match our content, not the other way around. The goals in selecting cities on region articles is, as in that discussion, is to facilitate navigation by listing the most prominent urban destinations, and achieving a good geographical spread. Each level lower on the hierarchy has a more fine-grained level of detail, so cities that are not listed here will at some point further down in the hierarchy be listed. Conversely, cities that are not even listed at the next level down in the hierarchy (the UK) should not be listed here.
We've already spent more than enough time on this topic, and I'd like to avoid wandering back into that labyrinth of parochial boosterism, which comes at the expense of doing real work on the site. --Peter Talk 13:31, 12 July 2009 (EDT)

Why have the same cities listed on the same list several times though? (British Isles/UK/England). Surely this would serve as a compromise where if a city didn't make the level above, it could be on the level below. On what basis are Manchester/Liverpool on this list ahead of others. Liverpool and Manchester are by no means head and shoulders above cities like Leeds/Bath/York in terms of tourism/travel attractions. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

To be clear, we operate under consensus (please read that link), and edit warring is inappropriate. --Peter Talk 14:17, 12 July 2009 (EDT)
Also, it would be highly unusual to put a city in a higher-level list but not a corresponding lower-level list. London is correctly flagged as one of the most important cities in Europe - but that certainly doesn't mean it only gets that single mention, and gets taken out of UK and England articles! - Dguillaime 15:15, 12 July 2009 (EDT)

So how would we reach a consensus? Size of city (importance)? Travel awards won (attractiveness)? Number of hotel rooms available (demand)? —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Please sign your posts. We reach consensus the same way consensus is always reached -- through discussion and compromise. LtPowers 17:00, 12 July 2009 (EDT)

Apologies - all the non signed posts above are mine. Well I've raised a discussion point, lets discuss it... how would we reach a consensus? Size of city (importance)? Travel awards won (attractiveness)? Number of hotel rooms available (demand)?

You can sign your posts by typing four tildes (~~~~).
Establishing a new consensus will require persuasion. Adding a city to a top-level region that is not included in the regions below would be quite a change in site-policy, and I'm not optimistic that enough people will be persuaded to do this. I'm not even optimistic that we could reach a new consensus to add the city to the England article, in the context that we've already discussed this ad nauseam. --Peter Talk 17:30, 12 July 2009 (EDT)

Hi Peter, thanks for getting back so quickly. Having read the discussion on the England page, I do see it has been debated at length - I'd like to continue the discussion here to get your attention... I was not the person posting on the England page, but I do agree with their points. It appears that others disagree, I'm not sure how this can progress? Various arguments are brought forth - "You should change the map"/"We need geographic spread"/"It should be based on visitor numbers" etc etc - but these are disproven and then another argument brought forward. In terms of attractions/awards/visitor numbers/size then Leeds deserves to at least be on the England list, and much more than some of the cities on there already. No one can seriously say that Nottingham or Bristol are top tourist destinations...

For the England page, why not try your hand at writing a good See section (here's a short, obscure example), to describe the various major sightseeing centers, must-see attractions, etc around the country. E.g., "London is the first stop for visitors, and not without good reason, given its wealth of attractions, palaces, museums... if you really intend to tour the country, don't overlook Leeds, a rewarding destination for its architectural heritage, museums, etc." The England see section right now is worthless, and would benefit from a total re-write. The cities lists are rather trivial, which actually is why I think they attract so much debate. --Peter Talk 18:46, 12 July 2009 (EDT)

OK fair comment - I'll give it a try. I'm very wary that something along the following will happen: I enter new text eg visit Leeds for it's great shopping and nightlife. Some of the anti-Leeds brigade spot it, change it or put it further down the article with words to the effect 'visit Leeds, or more impressively A.N. Other city for shopping and nightlife' etc etc

(I would say that talk of anti-Leeds brigades is paranoid silliness, but I think over time I'm being persuaded by the edit warriors to enlist.) --Peter Talk 17:53, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

You know, I'm not sure there ever was a discussion on which 9 cities to list in this article. The links posted above are discussing the lists for the UK and England articles, but not for the British Isles article, which has only existed in its current form for a few months. How were the 9 cities arrived at? LtPowers 18:15, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

Like for any other region where there was no controversy. I added them here [5], to use the capitals and my own subjective opinion of what other cities should be added. If there are complaints/suggestions, I'm certainly amenable to changing the non-capital cities, but I don't think it would be appropriate to add cities which are not listed at the next level of the hierarchy. --Peter Talk 18:46, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

Why is Leeds not on here when more people visit Leeds than Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester combined? Tourists to Leeds have access to two world heritage sites, several national museums, three national parks, York, Harrogate and Skipton. No other city can offer tourists anything like that. No tourists visit Birmingham or Belfast compared to Leeds. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Would you please sign your posts so we don't have to keep looking up in the history which IP is commenting? Right now, there is no justification for including Leeds on the 9-city list in this article because not only is Leeds not in the 9-city list on the United Kingdom article, it's not even in the 9-city list for the England article. So your first step needs to be making a case to replace a city on that list (probably York) with Leeds. If you're successful with that, you need to make the same case on the United Kingdom article. Then you can come here and suggest it. But keep in mind, in all of these discussions, that number of tourists is not the only criterion to be used in deciding the list of nine cities. We must also pay attention to variety of attractions, uniqueness, and geographical representation. (That latter point is why Belfast is on the list; it represents the whole of Northern Ireland.) LtPowers 11:57, 14 July 2009 (EDT)

Ok I've added 4x~ to sign this. Please note that I have not made all the posts above, nor been involved in the recent edit war (though I agree with the changes suggested). I've updated the 'See' section of the England article - lets see how long it takes to be hijacked. I also note the map on here has been changed for some reason. Liverpool has been 'erased', how long til Leeds suffers the same fate I wonder?... Some people must be on here every minute of every day policing that list to make sure certain cities don't make it on there!!! —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

The tildes don't work in the edit summary, just tack them on the end of your paragraph. LtPowers 16:01, 16 July 2009 (EDT)
I guess I've "hijacked" it then. That's a great see section for England—thank you for writing it and adding it there. It's not appropriate for the larger region, though, and we should not anyway duplicate content across multiple articles. At this level of the hierarchy, a see section should take the traveler around the entire region at a shallower depth, focusing on the very most famous attractions.
I explained the map changes above, and take a harder look—I did no such erasing of any cities. We have very good admin/janitorial coverage across all time zones lately, and everyone is aware of the edit war here, so yes, I think we do have some people here every minute of every day policing the list. --Peter Talk 16:03, 16 July 2009 (EDT)

1. Thanks - I'll work on a better one 2. Seems the cities on the city list is duplicated across articles when it suits 3. Liverpool did disapear to be replaced by Manc 16:27, 16 July 2009 (EDT)

If you looked harder and still can't find Liverpool on the map (which is located where the city always has been), then I'll suggest you reconsider the prescription on your spectacles. City, region, and OD lists are not content, they are purely navigational tools (although one-liner descriptions for them, which are lacking, would be content that shouldn't be duplicated). Your second version of the see section is still very similar to the England one, and has a bit too much content on less-known attractions that probably isn't appropriate at this level. For example, Leeds is there, while Stonehenge is not. Since this is a region high in the geographical hierarchy, it should contain nothing more than a summary of the most internationally well known touristic sites in the region. I'll take a stab at a rewrite tonight. --Peter Talk 21:12, 16 July 2009 (EDT)

OK my apologies - didn't see Liverpool as the label moved into the sea. And it was suggested above that I should include Leeds in the 'See' section as it had narrowly missed out on the list of cities. Although I've ommited Stone Henge, I tried to cover the variety of trips people may want to take away from the capital such as city breaks, countryside etc. 18:54, 17 July 2009 (EDT)

Therein lies the misunderstanding—I recommended you write about Leeds in the see section of the England article, where it did narrowly miss out on the list of cities. On this page, however, I don't think there's anything narrow about it, since it's not listed on either of the next two levels down on the hierarchy. Anyway, I'll stop blowing wind around needlessly and get to work on a revised version. --Peter Talk 19:59, 17 July 2009 (EDT)

Renaming of article[edit]

I've renamed the page to Britain and Ireland. My reasoning is that British and Irish Isles was a unilateral action which didn't fit the consensus or serve the traveller, while I accept that LtPowers did it with the best of intentions. Even if Britain and Ireland doesn't end up being the permanent name I feel certain it is closer to consensus than the former name. This follows more discussion on Talk:Europe/Hierarchy#British_Isles. Andyfarrell 05:44, 15 August 2009 (EDT)

Rewrite of Lead[edit]

The current intro to the article doesn't work on a number of points. There's no island called Britain, there are no UK crown dependencies rather British Crown dependencies. Also it's not an island chain. However, I'd rather not just revert the change to my old version as I've no ready answer to better describing it, and I'm conscious of not treading on toes by repeatedly undoing LtPowers' changes. Would welcome some input or ideas. Andyfarrell 17:23, 16 August 2009 (EDT)

I've tried to "fix" it. It would be nice to add a little content that's actually interesting, rather than repeating the index information just below, but hopefully I've restored accuracy. I agree with LtPowers that we should probably not address the controversy in the intro, to avoid drawing attention to it from casual visitors, who might then get interested in a petty edit war. --Peter Talk 18:46, 16 August 2009 (EDT)
Sorry, that was my mistake. It should have read "Great Britain," not "Britain." But I have heard the islands referred to as an archipelago. LtPowers 22:36, 16 August 2009 (EDT)
After reading Peter's changes -- Britain may not be an island, but it's definitely not a country! LtPowers 22:38, 16 August 2009 (EDT)
Thanks for the input, I think we're there. Fair point about not highlighting an edit war. Yes they're an archipelago but that's not the same as a chain of islands. I've tweaked the crown dependencies bit as the whole technical point was that they're not part of the UK but are a posession of the British Crown. Confusing, I know. LtPowers - the name "Britain" is indeed a common name for the country properly known as the UK (to the point that in the 1960s the prime minister was considering changing the official name), and in this context of not overly highlighting the problem I think Peter's description works very well. Andyfarrell 03:30, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
But our article is at United Kingdom, not Britain. Check out Wiktionary's definition of Britain -- the first meaning is the island, and the other meanings are specifically called out as "loose". Calling "Britain" a country strikes me as potentially misleading. Would anyone really consider Northern Ireland to be part of "Britain"? LtPowers 11:07, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
Yes they would. Absolutely. Stemming from the fact that we're "British", and the whole Northern Ireland issue stems from whether they are regarded as "British" or "Irish". So the corresponding country names, in the common usage, are Britain and Ireland. Most residents will know that it's technically called the United Kingdom but they'll say Britain at least as often as United Kingdom simply because it's quicker and easier to say the two-syllable name. For the same reason, "UK" is common. Wiktionary may list the definition as "loose" (and they're right in the sense that it's used that way even if not fully technically correct) but it's still one of the uses they list as correct. "Britain" is a completely acceptable term for the UK, and particularly one which travellers will understand. I'm somewhat worried that we're having this discussion at all; if I didn't grasp this stuff about a place I'd be very hesitant to be taking a position on how it was featured in a travel guide! Andyfarrell 13:26, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
Well I still have some opinions on this, but apparently I'm not wanted. LtPowers 14:26, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
Sorry Sorry Sorry! I didn't want to come across at all that way. Text is such a difficult medium in which to express yourself without getting crossed wires. To clarify, all of this discussion is, in my opinion, positive friendly and constructive. It just gave me a smile that you don't appear to know the UK very well but are comfortable making changes based on your opinion. I'm not getting upset, hope you're not too, and I hope you'll accept being corrected with good grace. :-) Even if I managed to be inept or even offensive - in which case Sorry again. And you are welcome to chuckle at me sometime you spot me get it wrong about an area you know better than me - which I'm sure will happen. :-\ Cheers, Andyfarrell 19:19, 17 August 2009 (EDT)

Okay, well here's my view: While "Britain" may be a perfectly acceptable colloquial term for the sovereign country, I don't think it's appropriate for the lead of this article, especially due to its ambiguity. I would rather define this region as an area incorporating two major islands than as two countries. LtPowers 19:53, 17 August 2009 (EDT)

In context, I think "Britain" is entirely appropriate. Wikipedia calls it a country first on its disambiguation page, and since the same clause defines it as a country, there should be no ambiguity to how we are using it. And it seems appropriate to use the term, since it's in the article title. Switching to "islands" rather than "countries" would be no more, no less ambiguous. This all seems to me a rather trivial issue, though. --Peter Talk 22:10, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
But we all know it is the trivia which causes more consternation and edits than any travel info, more so in this area than any other. I'm convinced by staying in line with WP though - we can always refer any zealots in that direction, and they can come back when it is all sorted over there.. --inas 23:04, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
Well Wikipedia had to put one of the definitions first; they specifically take care not to assign "Britain" any one meaning. Anyway, though, my point is somewhat off from this -- that it seems odd to have the U.K. in the "Britain and Ireland" region if the region is named after the U.K. and not after the island. Why not "United Kingdom and Ireland" then? LtPowers 13:20, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
My take is NI is commonly considered either part of Ireland, or part of Britain, and sometimes both. As I pointed out somewhere else that I can't remember, Britain and Ireland has almost completely taken over from the expression British Isles in many circles, guides, etc. My only remaining concern would be that it isn't geographically correct. Although we don't have to have geographical correctness here, it really helps people put stuff in the right place, and stops edit wars. Following WP to some extent mitigates that risk. --inas 18:57, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
If we're going to follow Wikipedia, then the article can only be at British Isles, because that's how they title their article that covers the same topic. LtPowers 19:23, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
Obviously this area is tied up in a complexity of geographical correctness, common names used in varying geographies, and local political sensitivites. The name that seems to me to be emerging out of this is the one currently being used for the article, that is Britain and Ireland. The British and Irish Isles thing, was only ever going to be a stopgap, as it is the used nowhere else, and sounds odd. I think Britain and Ireland it is well understood, and will be the least subject to trivial edits. We are defining a region here and Ireland is sometimes used as a name for the whole island, and Britain for the other island. Britain is sometimes used to include NI, some of who are more likely to say they are British, then they are from the UK. My only remaining concern, as I said, is that geographical purists will have an issue with it. That there is support for the possibility of Britain being used in this was in WP (as Peter said), means that we can defer some of this argument to them, and focus on travel in the region. I'm didn't mean to suggest that I think we should follow the WP regional names, sorry I should have been more clear. --inas 20:01, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
Okay, well we seem to keep getting off my point, which is that our current method of handling this is inconsistent. If this article is named "Britain and Ireland" after the countries, then our United Kingdom article should be at Britain for consistency. If the article is named "Britain and Ireland" after the islands, then the lead should say they are islands, not that they are countries. LtPowers 21:50, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
I think it's fair to use more than one name for a country on our website when there is one. I've used "America" many times, and that's actually more problematically ambiguous and contentious than this case. Lets not get too bogged down in this, and lets get back to travel writing—the intro is hardly the weakest or the most important part of this article. --Peter Talk 22:55, 18 August 2009 (EDT)

Well, I give up. Apparently I'm not making my case very well. LtPowers 10:37, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

I have to agree with LtPowers here, why not just use the name "islands". The article is named after the islands and the archipelago. The countries could always be laid down in a second sentence. Like this:

Britain and Ireland, often called the British Isles, is an archipelago just northwest of the European mainland. The region includes Ireland, the United Kingdom and the British crown dependencies Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Globe-trotter 11:14, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

Perhaps a compromise is just to give up on the history and geography lesson altogether in the lead? Then this issue just goes away entirely. It isn't really the job of a travel guide to dwell on this. We just want to what to see, how to get there... after all the countries are all listed in the section above anyway.. --inas 19:06, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
I plunged and gave it a shot, at something different altogether. If anybody wants the convoluted geography lesson back, feel free to revert, or if it can be improved, please do so. --inas 21:34, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
And now, in re-reading the article, I realise that everyone else what talking about the one sentence lead, and I was talking about the lower Understand section. So, just ignore me, and everything I have said. And, I hope you like the new Understand section. --inas 22:05, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
Wow! This page is appearing a lot on the updates page! The islands are Great Britain and the other island can be called Ireland, right? What is wrong with Great Britain and Ireland? This seems like a lot of fuss over a two-nation "region". ChubbyWimbus 22:34, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
But it isn't two nations - its three nations, no - its two countries and four home nations and a couple of dependencies. Sorry, make that two countries, two crown dependencies, two semi-devolved nations, and a republic, and a archipelago ... --inas 23:43, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
Three crown dependencies in some respects - Jersey & Guernsey are separate but treated as one for some things. It's messy! Andyfarrell 02:54, 20 August 2009 (EDT)
Of course, we have a term that incorporates all of them, but for some reason it's unacceptable. LtPowers 14:32, 20 August 2009 (EDT)
I think the region is only "messy" and "complicated" within the UK. But yes, why is LtPowers "wrong"? ChubbyWimbus 16:57, 20 August 2009 (EDT)

Other destinations[edit]

Now we got Other Destinations twice? That doesn't seem logical. I think we should just place the dependencies in the Countries sub and rename it "Regions". Globe-trotter 13:19, 24 December 2009 (EST)