Ireland's name comes from the Old Irish "Ériu", the name of the Gaelic goddess who was said to be the mother and protector of the island. Ireland was also known by the name "Iouernia" in ancient Roman texts, and "Hibernia" in medieval Latin texts, both of which are thought to be derived from the same root as the beautiful Goddess"Ériu".
Eriu, also spelled Ériu, was a goddess who, along with her sisters Banba and Fódla, was said to be one of the three queens of the island of Ireland. According to legend, this island was named after Eriu.
Eriu, Banba and Fódla were daughters of Ernmas, a goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann, one of the groups of deities in Irish mythology. They were said to have lived on the island before the arrival of the Milesians, the ancestors of the Irish people. I
The goddesses were said to have put a curse on the Milesians, promising that their descendants would never truly be rulers of the island as long as the goddesses' names were remembered.
Eriu, Banba and Fódla were also associated with the land and fertility, and were often invoked in poetry and song for blessings on the land and its people. In some texts, Eriu is also described as a goddess of sovereignty, and is associated with the sovereignty of the island of Ireland.
Eriu is an important figure in Irish mythology and she continues to be celebrated in modern times. The name of the goddess is still used to refer to the island of Ireland in modern Irish language (Éire).