The HP Wikia page for the British Ministry of Magic claims that:

The same Ministry also appears to govern the wizarding population in Ireland.

But it fails to give any source for this claim, which I find quite dubious as there is no authority in the real (Muggle) UK that also governs Ireland.

Is there any canon source for the claim that Ireland is not an independent country in the Potterverse?

Any level of canon (books, Pottermore, or even films) is acceptable, but not Wikia or other unreliable sources.

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    Maybe the person who posted that blurb doesn't understand that the Republic of Ireland is one political entity, but Northern Ireland is another, and Britain does indeed govern Northern Ireland, albeit increasingly indirectly.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jan 1, 2016 at 0:45
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    @WadCheber Some dozy American perhaps? ;-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 1, 2016 at 0:46
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    Is it that whenever political boundaries change in the muggle world, the boundaries in the wizarding world change to match them? Or is it the other way round?
    – user14111
    Jan 1, 2016 at 0:56
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    It's commented in the fourth book that the Ministry of Quidditch (or however it's called) manages the teams of the UK and Ireland, or something of that kind. That may be why it's believed that Ireland and the UK are governed by the same person. Jan 1, 2016 at 1:07
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    @WadCheber Technically, it's all one United Kingdom. But the disparity in population makes it a little like the relationship of the rest of the USA to Alaska. (If Alaska had a long running violent movement to join with Canada.) Jan 1, 2016 at 2:39

3 Answers 3


It seems like Ireland is separate from Britain, but still governed by the Ministry of Magic.

There are very few references to Ireland or the Irish in the books – I counted maybe a dozen, if you exclude the Irish team in the Quidditch World Cup in Goblet of Fire. It’s very hard to draw any solid inferences about the state of magical politics in the British Isles.

What references there are play fast and loose with mentions of “Britain” and “Ireland”. It’s not always clear which entity is being referred to.

Clearly we need some prequels which spend all their time explaining the politics. I’m sure such a work would be universally beloved.

This stuff is sufficiently complicated in Muggle politics that I won’t try to come up with a unified theory of British politics, but here are some facts that can be inferred from canon:

  • There seems to be a distinction between “Britain” and “Ireland”.

    • In Goblet of Fire, Hermione gives Harry a book Quidditch Teams of Britain and Ireland.
    • In Philosopher’s Stone, Hagrid has a book Dragon Species of Great Britain and Ireland.
    • Quidditch through the Ages has a chapter “Teams of Britain and Ireland”.
    • There’s Ministry department called “the British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters”.

    If Ireland was part of “Britain”, it would be strange to list it separately. This is probably “Great Britain”, but that would let Northern Ireland slip through the gap.

  • “Northern Ireland” and “Ireland” are distinct entities.

    Quidditch through the Ages tells us about the thirteen teams in the British and Irish league. Here’s a description of two of the teams:

    Ballycastle Bats. Northern Ireland's most celebrated Quidditch team.

    Kenmore Kestrels. This Irish side was founded in 1291.

    Northern Ireland only split from Ireland in 1921, well after magical society broke away from the Muggles. This suggests that at least some events in Muggle politics have carried over to magical society.

  • Hogwarts covers both the UK and Ireland.

    Quoting from JK Rowling in an interview with Telegraph Magazine:

    A month before your's child's 11th birthday, if you are a resident of the UK or Ireland, you will receive a letter delivered by owl telling you your child is due at Hogwarts.

    We know at least one Irish student at Hogwarts – Seamus Finnigan – although I don’t think we know whether he actually lives in Ireland.

    Since the Ministry has some control over Hogwarts, this might suggest their role includes some of Ireland. And indeed…

  • The Ministry has some jurisdiction over Ireland.

    The Department for Magical Games and Sports, part of the London Ministry, seems to preside over the entire British and Irish Quidditch League. This included asking some professional teams to disband when the League was established – something they could only do if they had at least some authority.

    We don’t get more detailed descriptions than that, or another specific incident involving the Ministry asserting authority over Irish affairs.

    There are discussions in the HP Wikia talk pages for Ministry of Magic and Minister for Magic about the exact jurisdiction of the Ministry – but nobody there has a definitive answer. The sentence quoted in the original question seems to be entirely hypothetical.

  • +1, excellent review! A couple of questions: 1) What do we know about Seamus Finnigan's origins? Is he confirmed to be Irish, or are you just going by the name? Northern or Republic? 2) What's your source for the bit about the DfMGaS asking some teams to disband?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 1, 2016 at 20:29
  • @randal'thor 1) It’s strongly hinted that he’s Irish based on his support for the Irish team in Goblet of Fire; 2) That’s taken from Quidditch through the Ages; I’ll update with a quote when I have a moment.
    – alexwlchan
    Jan 1, 2016 at 20:52

Rugby is an interesting real-world case for comparison: Ireland (north and south) fields a single team. England, Scotland, and Wales (which are not independent nations) compete separately. It's worth noting JKR is a rugby fan (and supports Scotland).

To complicate matters further, in some rugby competitions England, Scotland, Wales, and (all of) Ireland field a joint team as the British and Irish Lions.

All in all, it would be not be wise to assume anything about political boundaries based on Quidditch (or other Ministry of Magic) governing arrangements.

  • 1
    True, but I can't see how this answers the question? I remember England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland all have separate Quidditch teams, but my question is about whether there's any canon evidence for whether Ireland is a politically independent country or governed by the British MoM.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 1, 2016 at 13:25
  • I don't think there is a canon answer. My point is, trying to deduce from the very few mentions of nationality in the books would be unwise. Jan 1, 2016 at 14:08
  • I think that Ireland is united for all sports other than soccer. I imagine that this would also apply to quidditch, unless otherwise specified.
    – TRiG
    May 18, 2016 at 17:28

There is an article on the Ministers of Magic on Pottermore that states following:

All matters relating to the magical community in Britain are managed solely by the Minister for Magic, and he has sole jurisdiction over his Ministry.

So the question would be: what is Britain?

According to wikipedia Britain may refer to an island or a country:

The term Britain is a linguistic descendant (reflex) of one of the oldest known names for Great Britain, an island off the north-western coast of continental Europe.

From the same article:

The term Britain is widely used as a common name for the sovereign state of the United Kingdom, or UK for short. The United Kingdom includes three countries on the largest island, which can be called the island of Britain or Great Britain: these are England, Scotland and Wales. However the United Kingdom also includes Northern Ireland on the neighbouring island of Ireland, the remainder of which is not part of the United Kingdom. England is not synonymous with Britain, Great Britain, or United Kingdom.

Nevertheless at some point in time "Britain" was used as a synonym for the whole United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland which from 1801 to 1922 included also the current Republic of Ireland. It is unknown whether the wizard society also accepted this independence.

Ireland is not included in Britain but a separate island

Ireland (Listeni/ˈaɪərlənd/; Irish: Éire [ˈeːɾʲə] ( listen); Ulster-Scots: Airlann [ˈɑːrlən]) is an island in the North Atlantic separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel.

and most of it is an independent country an independent country:

Ireland (Listeni/ˈaɪərlənd/; Irish: Éire [ˈeːɾʲə] ( listen)), also known as the Republic of Ireland (Poblacht na hÉireann), is a sovereign state in north-western Europe occupying about five-sixths of the island of Ireland.

According to all this Ireland is an independent country also in the magical world UNLESS the state of the magical government is "frozen" in the state before the Irish independence in 1922 but after 1801.

  • 1
    +1. BUT. 150 years ago "Britain" meant the whole of what's now called Britain and Ireland, so this isn't completely conclusive, especially as we know the wizarding world lags behind the Muggle world in many ways.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 1, 2016 at 14:33
  • @randal'thor point taken - I'll update the answer accordingly
    – vap78
    Jan 1, 2016 at 18:58
  • So, basically the answer is "We don't know" :( Ugh. Totally NOT your fault, but rather frustrating. Come on JKR! Jan 1, 2016 at 19:53
  • @DVK Somebody needs to tweet and ask her ...
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 1, 2016 at 20:23

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