Ireland: Glossary


Bridewell – a prison. from a large mansion built for King Henry VIII near an ancient Holy Well called St. Bride’s (or St Bridget’s) on the banks of the Fleet River, then outside London, depicted in Holbein’s famous painting The Ambassadors. The City of London acquired the palace from King Edward VI for use as a hospital, orphanage and prison. Later it was used mainly for the short-term confinement and punishment of petty offenders such as vagrants, itinerants, vagabonds and loose women. The name Bridewell was later applied to the hundreds of others that were set up throughout the country on the same model, for which an alternative name was Houses of Correction, though these were in practice mainly prisons for the poor and indigent. The term was also taken to the British colonies. Bridewells had a shocking reputation. In a biography of the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, Mrs E R Pitman wrote, “They made a point of visiting most of the jails and bridewells in the towns through which they passed, finding in some of them horrors far surpassing anything that Newgate could have shown them even in its unreformed days.” The term is now only historical, as the formal distinction between bridewells and prisons was abolished in Britain in 1865, though much of the work of the old bridewells had by then long since been taken over by the Workhouses. But the term lives on in the names of a few police stations that were once attached to a bridewell, such as those in Bristol and Leeds; in Ireland it is still used as a general term for a block of holding cells.

BHS – British Horse Society


Cairn CIE –

CoI – Church of Ireland,



DCU -Dublin City University, a veritable marvel of modern architecture in the northern suburbs of Ireland’s capital

DIT – Dublin Institute of Technology, soon to be unified on a single campus on the former site of Grangegorman Mental Hospital, and already nicknamed the Loony Uni.


DU – Dublin University


DUP – The Democratic Unionist Party 

FAI – Football Association of Ireland

Fianna Fail –

Fine Gael –

GAA – Gaelic Athletic Association

Gael Linn –

GUI – Golf Union of Ireland

IAFF – Irish Amateur Fencing Federation

IRA – Irish Republican Army

IRB – Irish Republican Brotherhood

IRFU – Irish Rugby Football Union

ISPCA – Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

ISPCC – Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

NCAD – National College of Art & Design,

NMI – National Museum of Ireland

NUJ – National Union of Journalists


PSNI – Police Service of Northern Ireland

Pobhlacht, An

QUB – Queen’s University Belfast

RC – Roman Catholic

RDS – Royal Dublin Society. Founded as the Dublin Society in 17xx,

RHA – Royal Hibernian Academy

RIA – Royal Irish Academy

RIAC – Royal Irish Automobile Club,

RIAI – Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland –

RIC – Royal Irish Constabulary

RNLI – Royal National Lifeboat Institute. Founded

RSAI – Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland –

RTE – Radio Telefis na hEireann, the

RUC – Royal Ulster Constabulary





TCD – Trinity College, Dublin U

UCC – University College Cork

UCD – University College Dublin

UCG – University College Galway, now NUI Galway UUP –

Ulster Unionist Party

(More soon!)

Ireland and it's history, culture, travel, tourism and more!