The British-Irish Isles
The British Isles is an unpopular name in the Republic of Ireland for the simple reason that the country is part of neither Great Britain nor the United Kingdom. So it is a wholly inappropriate name. An agreement should be found perhaps through the British-Irish Council on what would be a suitable alternative. For now I will just stick to the British-Irish Isles. But here are the two suggestions I'd like to put forward:
The Pretannic Isles.
The Pretannic Isles is not a name I have devised myself. It is derived immediately from the ancient Greek name for these isles, Prettanikē nēsos, so named after the main tribe found in this corner of Europe, Prettanoi (Britons) as they were known by the Greek historians. One of these historians Marcian of Heraclea, in his Periplus maris exteri, used αἱ Πρεττανικαί νῆσοι (the Prettanic Isles) to refer to the islands. So the name I have proposed was already used, though in a variant form, many centuries ago. Indeed Pretannic Isles or Pretanic Isles is already one suggestion made by others and used in some academic circles.
One of the likely arguments against the use of the word Pretannic is its relationship with the name Britain and its associated word British. But their relationship is only like that of cousins, Pretannic not being taken from Britain but rather directly from the Greek name for these isles which predates any imperial Anglo-centric concept of Britain. Indeed the ancient Britons are more like the Welsh than the English with the Brythonic languages being Welsh, Breton, Cornish and the now extinct Cumbric which was spoken in North-West England once upon a time. The Irish may also argue that they have little historically to do with the Britons as a tribe. But then the same can easily be argued for most people in eastern England or in northern Scotland. The fact is whether we're descended from the Britons or not, the main tribe historically was the Britons so a variant of the name was used by the Greek historians to create a name for all the isles.
Of course it is difficult to get away from the issue of tribal bias. However, there are alternatives.
The Westernorth is tribally neutral, literally (and quite obviously) meaning "the Western North" a reference to it's location in Europe so is very much geographical like Nordic. The emphasis is on the first syllable so is like Wester Ross in that respect. Although the conjoining n could be viewed as both the last letter of Western and first letter of North rolled into one when the name is said aloud it very much seems to belong exclusively to the North. Indeed with Wester used a lot in place names throughout Scotland the two elements are easily separated as Wester North.
Personally, I feel there is something very evocative about the Westernorth as a name. It suggests somewhere on the fringes that's wild and windswept but also bold and adventurous, outward looking even. It isn't a name loaded with colonial ambitions but talks simply about a place not dominated by one culture but a variety of cultures that have decided that this part of the world is where they want to call home. Westernorthern, a possible derivative, can therefore be used to talk about 'Westernorthern culture' as a whole range of different cultures sharing a common mild-climate environment without seeming to emphasise one particular country or island.
I feel the Westernorth is a name to be strongly recommended if not for the reasons I have just given then certainly for the fact that it is not cumbersome.
If neither of these two suggestions are felt to be suitable then it will be a matter of considerable debate as to what is the best alternative. My suggestions are just suggestions until one of them is adopted if that were to happen. There are many other alternatives that have been suggested including:
British Isles and Ireland
United Kingdom (or UK) and (Republic of) Ireland (or ROI)
Islands of the North Atlantic (or IONA)
Northwest European Archipelago
West European Isles
But none of the above quite cut it like the Pretannic Isles or the Westernorth and some of them are a little too cumbersome.
So what do you think? What name sounds best?