Teaching International began in 2004 to promote greater awareness of global trends and civic engagement and to broaden students' understanding of intercultural and international issues. This academic year the focus is on the Celtic Nations, which we are defining as Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Isle of Man, and Cornwall.
We recommend the term "nation" when referring to these six "official" regions/islands. It is a useful term because it is tied to notions of ethnicity, culture, and geography rather than political status. Several nations can exist within a single country, or can span national borders (as is the case with Ireland).
The term "country" denotes a "sovereign" status that only the Republic of Ireland enjoys (excluding N. Ireland). The other five nations have some degree of "home rule," but are not independent.
The preferred pronunciation of Celtic is with a hard C (i.e., like a K), although this issue continues to be debated. In general, however, the soft-C pronunciation (i.e., like an S) seems to be reserved for sports teams and the more academic venues use the hard-K (see, for example, "Is it 'keltic' or 'seltic'?").