Background to Fadas in IE Domains

The internet didn’t used to support accented characters. The original ASCII character set used in computing had just 128 characters, including the basic latin letters, numerals and a handful of symbols. No diacritics; no Arabic or Oriental characters; not even the Greek letter π used in Mathematics.

Today, the Unicode system supports over 120,000 characters, and technology is adapting to make the internet a more international place. In the past ten years, domain name registries have been adding support for so-called Internationalised Domain Names (IDN).

In Ireland, the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), appointed a Policy Advisory Committee representing a variety of industry and community stakeholders (including Blacknight) in 2014. That committee’s first recommendation was the introduction of an IDN policy allowing the use of acute accents (sínte fada) used on vowels in the Irish language, i.e. á, é, í, ó, and ú.

Following a public consultation period in early 2016, the IE Domain Registry has announced that the phased introduction of fadas in IE domain names will begin in August 2016.