Irish flag Erin go bragh

The Gaelic term “Erin go Bragh”

Irish flag Erin go bragh

In Ireland, Gaelic remains omnipresent. Although the first language spoken is English, Irish Gaelic has survived over the centuries and still has a prominent place in the daily lives of the people. And the term you will hear most often on the spot is “Erin go Bragh” (/ˌɛrɪn ɡə ˈbrɑː/). It is an essential part of the patriotic phrases to which the Irish people are strongly attached. Scandalized as a slogan, it can be found almost everywhere: on clothes, on caps, in irish pubs…etc. A symbol of belonging to Ireland, this expression is one of the strong phrases in Irish Gaelic. A must to know to better understand the country and its culture!

Erin go Bragh: Meaning

More than a sentence, an oath of allegiance to Ireland..

Irish flag - Iker Merodio - cc

Irish flag – Iker Merodio – cc

Erin go Bragh can be translated as “Ireland forever” in English, or “L’Irlande pour l’éternité” in French.

This expression developed around the 18th century. Invented during a rather turbulent historical period, it helped to unite the Irish in their conflict with the British.

A purely Irish invention, it was originally written in this way: “Éire go Brách“.

It was a purely Gaelic expression, which was later anglicized to become “Erin go Bragh”.

It conveyed a sense of patriotic unity among the Irish and was considered an oath of allegiance to Ireland.

If you break down the expression, here’s what you get:

  • Erin = Ireland
  • go Bragh = forever, for eternity, or until the end of time.

As you will have understood, this sentence is one of the strongest phrases of Irish patriotism. It bears witness to all the Irish people’s attachment to their island, and in itself is a reminder of the centuries of hard struggle in which Ireland has known war and British imperialism.

It can be found on flags, in songs, and some irish pubs and local establishments are named after it.