herald

Friday 19 October 2018

Palmerston will vote to end a very bad spell

Until an agreement can be made on the correct spelling of Palmerston/Palmerstown in Dublin -- and on who actually lives there -- signs displaying both spellings will remain.

Up to 8,000 local people will be asked to vote on whether the town should include the "w" in the spelling of its name. But even before this can happen, geographers and councillors must agree on who should be included in the area known as Palmerston.

"I'm meeting with the Ordinance Survey next week to work out where the boundaries lie," said Independent Councillor Guss O'Connell.

Some of South Dublin County Council's councillors had reservations about instigating this move, but when the benefits were weighed against the costs involved, the Council agreed to have one name for the area.

Residents will be asked if they want to officially change the name of their town to reflect the commonly accepted name. The town is widely referred to by locals as "Palmerstown" and the absence of the "w" in official documents is believed to be a relic of British rule.

"We have to rely on 16th century maps to decide where the boundaries fall," Green Party Councillor Dorothy Corrigan said.

There has been some discussion that the area should be referred to as Palmerston, named after Palmerston House. But another argument is that it should be translated directly from Baile Pamar as the "town of Palmer" or "Palmerstown".

Cllr O'Connell raised the issue and said: "It's amazing we're living with a blunder by the British in medieval times."

The issue was highlighted when roads were constructed in the area and signposts displayed different names for the area.

At the M50, Cllr O'Connell said: "The signpost points clearly and quite rightly to Palmerstown. But once on the N4, heading for the city one finds oneself entering 'Palmerston."

Councillors acknowledged that these signs must stay until a decision is reached by local inhabitants. It is expected that some 8,000 electors will be eligible to vote in the plebiscite.

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