Entries linking to Ireland
Old English lond, land, "ground, soil," also "definite portion of the earth's surface, home region of a person or a people, territory marked by political boundaries," from Proto-Germanic *landja- (source also of Old Norse, Old Frisian Dutch, Gothic land, German Land), perhaps from PIE *lendh- (2) "land, open land, heath" (source also of Old Irish land, Middle Welsh llan "an open space," Welsh llan "enclosure, church," Breton lann "heath," source of French lande; Old Church Slavonic ledina "waste land, heath," Czech lada "fallow land"). But Boutkan finds no IE etymology and suspects a substratum word in Germanic,
Etymological evidence and Gothic use indicates the original Germanic sense was "a definite portion of the earth's surface owned by an individual or home of a nation." The meaning was early extended to "solid surface of the earth," a sense which once had belonged to the ancestor of Modern English earth (n.). Original senses of land in English now tend to go with country. To take the lay of the land is a nautical expression. In the American English exclamation land's sakes (1846) land is a euphemism for Lord.
c. 1200, "the Irish people," from Old English Iras "inhabitant of Ireland." This is from Old Norse irar, which comes ultimately from Old Irish Eriu (accusative Eirinn, Erinn) "Erin." The reconstructed ancestry of this derives it from Old Celtic *Iveriu (accusative *Iverionem, ablative *Iverione), perhaps (Watkins) from PIE *pi-wer- "fertile," literally "fat," from root *peie- "to be fat, swell" (see fat (adj.)).
From mid-15c. in reference to the Celtic language spoken in Ireland. Some Middle English forms of the word suggest influence of (or punning on) Old French irais, irois "wrathful, bad-tempered" (literally "ire-ous") and Irais "Irish."
Meaning "temper, passion" is 1834, American English (first attested in writings of Davy Crockett), from the legendary pugnacity of the Irish. Irish-American (n.) is from 1816 (as an adjective from 1820). Wild Irish (late 14c.) originally were those not under English rule; Black Irish in reference to those of Mediterranean appearance is from 1888.