Monday, April 16, 2007

Village gets Harlot back

A village in south-west Ireland has won a fresh round in a battle to change its name in the Irish language back to Fort of the Harlot.

For centuries, the village known as Doon in English had been known in Irish as Dun Bleisce, or Fort of the Harlot, but the name was changed in 2003 when the Government ordered a simpler An Dun, or The Fort.

The unpopular move led to 1,000 locals signing a petition to have 'harlot' added back to the name. They were backed by local politicians and a Limerick County Council motion of support.

Under pressure, Eamon O Cuiv, the Irish Government Minister responsible for the Irish language, asked the official commission that rules on Gaelic names to give a ruling.

In a statement Sunday, he said the Placenames Commission had confirmed its view that "An Dun" was the appropriate Irish version but that the alternative "Dun Bleisce" also had an "attested historical basis".

With both options available, Mr O Cuiv said he had published a draft order to change the village's name back, pending final public approval.

"Assuming no strong objections are received, I propose to make the order in four weeks' time," he said.

Local councillor Mary Jackman said she was absolutely delighted.

"I am really thrilled. Signposts had always been Dun Bleisce and I think it was bureaucracy or a little glitch in interpretation that changed it,"

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