Style Guide

Version 1.1 – September 2023

Reporters and other writers should write clearly and use plain English — tries to follow this principle to make our content as accessible as possible. For example: Technical language, terminology, jargon, or other specialized vocabulary should be avoided or explained. Ask will every reader be able to understand, and, if in doubt, explain.

Where there is a conflict between this guide and any dictionary or other guide, the list below out rules the contents of any other source. Style guides are not immune to errors, if you find any please contact us.


1 – 10

from one to ten is spelt out – does not apply to ages when in brackets



accident and emergency, not to be abbreviated

abbreviations or acronyms

acronyms or abbreviations should be avoided, and, when used, should only used after the term has first been explained in full, although common abbreviations (Dart) do not first need to be written in full – remember you might know what the abbreviation means, but will all readers? Will our international readers? You may not need to spell it out, but it might be advisable to add context (ie “Dublin’s Dart railway service”). The general rule for capitalisation of abbreviations is if you say it as word (Dart, Fifa, Nama) only the first letter is capped, but if you say it as letters (DCU, VEC) all letters are capped

never make up an abbreviation of a name which is not abbreviated normally. Full points (full stops) should be used a lot to make short sentences, but almost never in abbreviations – thus US, No 10, 1am, ie eg, etc (never: U.S. — 1 a.m. — i.e. etc)

accept, except

the former is to take or receive, the latter is to leave out


can refer to both males and females, some actresses insist on being referred to as actors


‘the eleven-year-old John Doe’ is the standard, brackets: ‘John Doe (11)’ is an alternative



not Arnott’s


the army is lowercase, for the standing Irish army, but uppercase for Defence Forces

aircraft, airliner

not aeroplane, plane, or airplane

All Hallows

a campus of DCU, based in Drumcondra 


not ‘all right’

An Bord Pleanála


anorexia is an illness – do not use the terms ‘anorexic’ or ‘anorexia’ to describe or discuss anything other than the illness or anybody who has the illness


one word

Áras an Uachtaráin


neurological disorder – only to be used when referring or discussing such, while autistic should be only used when referring to those with the disorder


Bachelors Walk


billions, millions, trillions

four million people, four billion years ago, or 12 million bicycles, use €4 million or €4 billion or, in headlines, €4m and €4bn ok (a million is 1,000,000; a billion is thousand million, so €4,000,000,000 is €4bn, a trillion is 1,000,000,000,000)


people who write and maintain blogs are bloggers, they blog, which is blogging, IrishCycle is a website not a blog

Blue Monday

is a song by New Order among other things – no reference should, however, be made to “the most depressing day of the year” or other such nonsense, although stories about such have appeared in the media even after the apparent equation was debunked in 2006 and the Cardiff University distanced themselves from it in the same year


is England, Scotland, and Wales (thus the UK’s full title: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). Use ‘United Kingdom’ or ‘UK’ to describe England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

British Isles

out-of-date and outdated, avoid use


is ok to use

byelection, bylaw, byproduct, bypass, byword, bystander, byroad

all use of ‘byelaw’, ‘byelaws’ should be changed to bylaw



never café


is the former name of the city of Kolkata

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes alone is fine on second mention or with some context, for example, when the film industry has been mentioned first or in a headline in the arts section



Capitol Hill


it can be preferable to say caught on security or surveillance camera, rather than caught on CCTV

Christ Church, Christchurch

Christ Church Cathedral, but the area of Christchurch in Dublin, and Christchurch in New Zealand



an area of south-west Dublin – Citywest Business Campus, Citywest Hotel, etc, never ‘CityWest’, or ‘City West’

climate change

avoid use of ‘global warming’, climate change more accurately and more clearly describes the changes the changes in climate


Commission for Taxi Regulation

the taxi regulator is now the National Transport Authority


uc for the Irish document, but constitutional and the US constitution or the failed EU constitution


Dublin coroner lc


use lc – euro, sterling, dollars, use symbols on front of numerical amounts which are not spelt out; for example, € for euro, £ for sterling, $ for US dollars, C$ for Canadian dollars, AU$ Australian; only use euros – with an ‘s’ – when speaking in an informal tone. The old Irish currency was punts, not Irish

pounds. It is €4m, €4, €4.50, but 50 cent. On most computers, press the three keys: Ctrl, Alt and ‘4/$/€’ key to get the euro symbol. Convert all currencies to euro (Google, and put in brackets

cycle track

is the legal name for cycle lanes or paths, regardless of whether such are segregated or not


avoid in headlines and articles because the term is so loaded, but do not go as far as changing quotes



include the day (ie Monday, Tuesday etc) if suited, then a month, then date, then a year if needed, for example, Monday October 22, 2007 – avoid 22nd or 22nd


not DART


see Dublin City University


50s for ages (never 50’s etc), 1950s for time period (eg she was in her 50s in the 1950s)

Defence Forces

includes the army, air corps, naval service, and reserve forces


It is the Department of Transport but the Minister for Transport, the Department of Health and Children, but the Minister for Health and Children, and so on. Use shortened versions of the departments’ names depending on the topic, thus the Department of Transport is ok for general articles. There’s only a need to mention sports and tourism if the article relates to those subjects. ‘The Department’ on second use


is a trademark, try to use voice recorder

Dublin 8

is the postal district for Island Bridge and the Phoenix Park, so Dublin 8 is both on the north side and south side of the city


the on-street city bicycle retail system, run by advertising company JC Decaux for Dublin City Council. After a subscription charge, bikes can be use free of charge for up to a half hour, but it is not a free bicycle rental scheme. Coca-Cola is the current sponsor, but we do not feel the need to use the full official name: “Coca-Cola Zero dublinbikes”

Dublin City University

Dublin Heuston

is the official name of the Irish Rail station, use Heuston station for rail, but Heuston Luas stop or the Luas stop at Heuston station

Dublin International Film Festival

Dublin Port Tunnel

is designated as part of the M50, but given that this is not very common knowledge it can be highly confusing to some – if referring to both, say ‘the M50 and the Dublin Port Tunnel’ or explain that the tunnel is part of the M50

Dún Laoghaire

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council


‘Cian has dyslexia’, not ‘Cian is a dyslexic’



European Community

not EC


not e-mail


never ‘eircom’



Fianna Fail


not FIFA

Fine Gael

first-person shooter

full points (full stops)

see: abbreviations or acronyms



one police officer is a garda, plural is gardai, never use fadas of any kind of accents

global warming

see: ‘climate change’


Google Mail

the name – which at one point or another – was used for Gmail in the UK and Germany (for trademark reasons), generally use Gmail


sitting Irish governments are ‘the government’ lc. ‘Irish government’ is then only used when there would be confusion – for example, in an article that mentions two governments Irish governmental titles, department names etc are all uc (Taoiseach, Tanaiste, Minister for Education, Minister of State, the Cabinet), departments are lc on second mention when the full name is not used and past governments, ministers, presidents etc are always lc

foreign governments, departments, or titles are also always lc (thus the British/French/US government, the president of the United States, the prime minister etc)

Grafton Street

Greenwich Mean Time

or GMT — it is used to refer to what is now the atomic time standard Coordinated Universal Time (ie we do not use the measurement at Greenwich anymore but still use the name); Irish Standard Time is the official name in Irish law – thus in summer it is Irish Summer Time rather than BST (British Summer Time), bus we do not use the phrase Irish Standard Time as it is not common

Guantanamo Bay


Ha’penny Bridge

Hart’s Corner


ie heart of the city

Henry Grattan Building

in Dublin City University, not “Henry Grafton”

high-speed rail

is above 200 km/h (125 mph); there is no high-speed rail services in Ireland, while Irish Rail has carriages which can achieve such a speed, there is currently no locomotives in Ireland which can reach such a speed – high-speed rail came to Great Britain in 1976 (although they were not first), and, in France, the TGV set a passenger train record of 574.8 km/h in early 2007 (not used in normal service)



the domain name suffix for Ireland


short for Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s internet browser; use full name and not the abbreviation

Independent News & Media

and IN&M thereafter, not Independent Newspapers


a gas or electricity interconnector (lc) between two countries, but uc if interconnector is part of the name, there was a planned Dart Interconnector but this was renamed Dart Underground, so us the latter


lower case, avoid the outdated phrase ‘world wide web’

Internet of Things

a large range of devices which can connect to the internet (including traffic and bicycle counting devices); always explain when using, never use IoT, IOT or Internet of Everything

iPhone, iPod, iMac

do not use at the start of a sentence


we have readers from both Ireland and Northern Ireland, try to define which one you mean when you refer to Ireland

Irish Rail

The company’s registered name is ‘Iarnrod Eireann – Irish Rail’, the company uses both, sometimes haphazardly – we use Irish Rail, never Iarnród Éireann, our style is just Irish Rail


information technology – avoid both short and long versions


information and communication technology – avoid both short and long versions


we do not italicise names of newspapers, magazines, online publications, songs, albums, films, TV programmes, radio programmes, computer games, books, plays, poems, or talks. Foreign words should also not be italicise, and italics should never be used just for emphasis



is not, as one DCU lecturer claims, a good thing – be aware that many readers will not understand jargon, it is best avoided rather than explained, use or change to plain English, but explain if you can not avoid

job titles, etc

job titles should normally be in lower case; managing director, director, chief executive, chairman, manager, founder, barrister, presenter, co-presenter, reporter, business journalist, disability officer, equality officer, health and safety officer, freedom of information officer, estates officer, security

superintendent, press officer, co-ordinator, programme manager, dean etc – president is also lower case when referring to the head of a college or organisation, but upper case for the Irish president only


km, km/h

first is distance, latter is speed



and right-wing – if possible, avoid use as the words overly simplify complex matters


always abbreviate the ‘limited’ part of limited companies names to ‘Ltd’

London Calling

not London’s Calling

lord mayor


Los Angeles

LA is ok after first mention or in headlines – LA is a city, however, the city is commonly confused with LA County, if unsure, do not use ‘city’ or ‘county’



Mahon tribunal

that’s short for the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters & Payments


lord mayor (lc), mayor (lc); the proposed directly elected mayor of Dublin is lower case until such a title becomes a directly elected position


Metro North

was a planned light railway


a planned light railway

midday, midnight

avoid using 12am or 12pm – it does not matter which is correct if some people will mix both up


use film rather than movie


multinational, multimillion, multimedia, multiplayer, multi-story car parkmulti-lane road or street


National Asset Management Agency

or Nama


full name and then second name in most cases, for example, John Doe is Doe on second reference; in lighter pieces the first name can be used after first reference – no Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, but use Dr

Netherlands, the

Holland is only a region of the Netherlands


The Irish Times, The Guardian, uc ‘the’. But note ‘the’ is not part of some publication’s names, so it’s the Irish Independent or the Irish Examiner


should not be used


Omni Park Shopping Centre

commonly referred to as Omni shopping centre


never OK or okay

Osama bin Laden


was a music festival



or a paparazzo


when following a figure, always use the symbol ‘%’, not pc, percent, or per cent

percentage rises

note the common error with percentages by journalists, as explained by The Guardian’s style guide: “Probably our most common lapse into ‘mythematics’: an increase from 3% to 5% is a 2 percentage point increase or a 2-point increase, not a 2% increase; any sentence saying ‘such and such rose or fell by X%’ should be considered and checked carefully”

per capita

use per year


area of Dublin, not Phibsboro


only uc for the president of Ireland, lc for foreign presidents and the presidents of universities, companies, groups etc

press release

a document, that is given freely to the media, which contains information about a cause, issue, event, product, or service

program, programme

a computer program, a TV programme, an event programme



direct quotation uses double quotation marks, for example; “Direct quotation uses double quotation marks,” said the style guide. For quoting within quoting, use: “John did not say ‘hello’ when I met him,” said Tim. Take care with direct speech; while a writer should ensure that the words they attribution are exactly those that were spoken, ums and ahems can be removed and bad grammar improved. If you aren’t sure of the exact wording, use indirect speech. When copying a quote from another newspaper (or from the television or radio), you should always attribution it. Use square brackets [ and ] to insert a work or two to make a sentence clearer.



commonly thought of as a decline in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for two or more consecutive quarters – a depression is not well defined, but is thought of as a long-lasting recession


RTÉ One, RTÉ Two are television stations, while the radio stations are RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2FM, Lyric FM, and Raidio na Gaeltachta, do not spell out RTÉ


Sex and the City

a US television show and film, not ‘Sex in the City’

Sinn Féin

Smyths Toy Superstores

Irish toy retailer and bicycle stockiest; use Smyths – never Smyth’s

St Patrick’s College

a campus of DCU

St Stephen’s Green

students’ union

a or the students’ union, but DCU Students’ Union, and the Union of Students in Ireland (note: unions in some universities are not a members of the USI)

suicide and mental health

avoid terms such as ‘committed suicide’ or tried to ‘commit suicide’



the Taoiseach, not ‘An Taoiseach’ (besides some media reports, how often do you hear people say An Taoiseach?)


trademark – always remove the symbol from article copy etc, in other uses always use long version in lower case (ie trademark)

Today FM

trains and trams

Intercity, Commuter, Dart, Metro, Luas


you’ll need to explain what it was



cannot be used to accurately describe Northern Ireland

Union of Students in Ireland

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

use UK, or United Kingdom; Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but is not part of Britain or Great Britain which is England, Scotland and Wales. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are also not part of the UK – these islands are Crown dependencies


for the United States of America – no need to spell it out even on first mention. Never use the USA or just ‘America’, America is larger than just one country

urban legends

newspapers and websites are often caught repeating urban legends, be careful – reading up on some of the urban legends at can help avoid this


vox pop

non-arranged interviews of members of the public, a snapshot of opinion gained normally from interviewing people on the street, or in other public places



is not for fact-checking


the correct spelling of the music festival, replaced by Oxegen

World Trade Center

for names do not correct US spelling

world wide web

outdated – use the internet


World Wide Fund; never World Wrestling Federation, the former name for the World Wrestling Entertainment



was a video rental retailer, its shops used to also sell and rent games etc, you’ll need to explain if referenced in opinion articles etc


Yes vote, No vote

Yes campaign, No campaign

You, you’re

Should not be used in the news section unless in quoted text, news should not use a conversational style




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