NATURE OF THE
The concept of ‘the British Isles’, as a term so dear to contemporary cartographers and geographers, is anachronistic and has been so for a considerable number of years, not least since the birth, in 1949 of the Irish Republic and, before that, the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1921, when Ireland was granted Dominion status within the British Empire and effectively broke away from the United Kingdom of what had been Britain and Ireland but was destined, in 1922, to become Britain and Northern Ireland (meaning the six counties which are two-thirds of the Province of Ulster).
Nowadays the so-called British Isles should rather be known as the British and Irish Isles, since comprised of two main and numerous small island groupings that are either entirely British or entirely Irish. This alternative, and more objectively correct, concept of the British and Irish Isles still allows for the existence, within the existing political structures, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the one hand, and the Republic of Ireland on the other, but it is a more accurate reflection of such a political dichotomy than is the aforementioned conventional or traditional description of these isles from a purely British – and imperial – point of view. That ceased to have any real validity back in the early decades of the twentieth-century.