Consistency, people!

I’ve discovered a very important element to Irish culture: spelling inconsistencies.  Even in newspaper articles the spelling of people’s names, place names and other identifying nouns vary from paragraph to paragraph.  A place name can be spelled one way on a sign leading to that place, and another way on a map of that place.  It’s all so very confusing!

And yet, is there a method to this madness?  Say your co-worker wants to stop by after work to talk about that project that’s been haunting your every working day and you just can’t face the prospect.  Give them the name of your street but spell it wrong!  Guaranteed to at least delay them long enough for you to escape to the pub for a pint or two before having to deal with the matter.  Or say the invading hoardes are looking for loot and someone has told them it can be found on Dunmoor Island… Only you live on Doonmuir Island and the signage is all wrong.  Invasion avoided!

Well, those are silly examples, but they’re all I can think of to explain why things are named what they are and yet are spelled so differently – and also pronounced differently for each person who utters it.  I thought I’d finally gotten the pronunciation of Dun na Carraige down pat but I still get the feeling that people are laughing behind my back at my American-ness!

It’s so beautifully Irish.

–Cindy

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