Heir versus Hare
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 18:24

Hare versus Heir

When we were developing our new website before Christmas 2008 we wanted naturally enough to ensure that all sailors who wanted to sail with us knew where we were on the map and that we did not confuse you all by saying we are here when in fact we are there, or rather Heir v Hare. At the same time we were trying to sort ourselves out on the Google map and found that the wonderful people at Google would not allow us to drive across the water from Cunnamore to Heir (Hare) Island. This was indeed very smart as regular users know that you have to book the ro ro ferry if you want to stay dry.

Coincidentally at about this time i read an article in the Irish Times under the heading " Website may end squabbling about Irish placenames" I emailed the website in question This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and communicated with a most helpful person Padraig O Dalaigh. I quote Padraig's email " Bruno O'Donoghue in his Parish Histories and Place Names of West Cork (1986) p.17 under Hare Island gives Inis an Oidhre ( Heir Island), stating that " Heir Island is the basis for the present name". However, the Down Survey map of 1657 gives Hare Island as does Charles Smith's history of Cork (1750). This was also the spelling adopted by the Ordnance Survey in their first edition six-inch maps (Cork, sheet 149) and in all subsequent editions. I spoke with Padraig as we were finally going to print to see if Hare was going to become Heir officially, I was assured that Hare was going to stand and I quote his final email" Hare Island or Inishodriscol is official Irish form being Inis Ui Drisceoil. Bruno O'Donoghue's form, Inis an Oidhre, is unattested and may be a translation to Irish of what he perceived the origin of the name to be, Heir Island. Names were transliterated and translated by the English from Anglo-Norman times, the heaviest period of transliteration occuring from around 1560-1660.

Are you any the wiser? We decided to hedge our bets and to use both spellings. Brian Friel wrote an acclaimed play called Translations which coincidentally was performed at Glebe House in Baltimore last summer, is there a play in Heir/Hare, please let us know your thoughts and let us see if this blog can excite a level of interest that so exorciated the worthy citizens of Dingle or is it da---------.

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