The home nations, refers collectively to
Northern Ireland (
countries of the United Kingdom), and in certain sports (e.g.
) contexts, to England, Scotland, Wales and the whole island of Ireland. The term "Home Nations" is used in this second sense partly because Northern Ireland and the
Republic of Ireland have a unified association structure in certain sports, such as the
. Formerly the phrase was applied in general in this same wider sense, such as the period between 1800 and 1922, before the political partition of Ireland, when the whole island was part of the United Kingdom. The term "Home Countries" (not to be confused with the "
home counties") is also sometimes used, and is synonymous.
The term has yet a third meaning in the context of
British Cycling, where it refers collectively to the seven teams representing the four constituent countries of United Kingdom plus the three
Crown Dependencies (the
Isle of Man,
Guernsey) that participate in the
Crown Dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom, but are politically associated with it, and together make up the