Dingle: Our Town - Our Name - Our Heritage



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The voters of Dingle wake up to their own D-Day
Times Online  (Dingle in the News)
IT’S a big day for an Irish town that has lost its name and wants it back.

Today the votes will be counted in An Daingean and local people are hoping that if a majority says “yes”, it will revert to Dingle, the Anglicised name that the largest Irish-speaking town in Ireland has been known by for 700 years.
The Irish Government abolished the name last year. According to the Placenames Act, Dingle no longer has any legal force or effect and must not appear on Ordnance Survey or Land Registry maps, or on any local authority road or street signposts. It is now officially An Daingean — pronounced “On Dang-un”.
“It’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard,” said Tríona Duignan, 24, an assistant at a Gaelic television station which is making a drama in the Co Kerry town. “Dingle is more than a name, it’s a brand known internationally for tourism. It’s like Coca-Cola.”
If more than half of the 1,222 people eligible to take part in the plebiscite — organised by Kerry County Council — say yes to the bilingual form of Dingle/Daingean Uí Chúis, it will be a blow to the Government’s latest attempt to revive the Irish language, and a poke in the eye for Eamon O Cuiv, the Gaeltacht minister who last year declared: “Dingle no longer exists by law.”
It is not that the people of Dingle are anti-Gaelic. You can hear as much Irish spoken on the streets and in its 52 pubs as there are Irish language shop signs.
But it is a town that is comfortable with its bilingualism. John Moriarty, owner of a seafood restaurant, Lord Bakers, is at the forefront of the Dingle “yes” lobby. A fluent Irish- speaker, he said the town had a tremendous regard and respect for the Irish language “but this is just old-fashioned political arrogance.
“We have become a multicultural society so nobody should be sticking Irish-only signs down our bilingual throats.”
The “no” voters have kept a low profile. Breandan MacGearailt, a local councillor, said: “If people aren’t proud of their Irish placenames, that’s their problem.” Anonymous leaflets have claimed that a victory for the “yes” vote would result in Dingle’s expulsion from the Gaeltacht, the official Irish-speaking areas which benefit from grants. They also say that the name Dingle came about because of the “Cromwellian Placement Act”.
Dingle devotees, meanwhile, point out that An Daingean is the name of another town in Co Offaly, and that Daingean Uí Chúis has stronger historical roots.
On the eve of the count, some of the tourists sampling the pleasures of spirit grocers Foxy Johns and Dick Macks admitted that they were confused by the name change. “We were looking for Dingle because the guide books recommend it, but there were no signs for the town,” said Sally-Ann Smyth, from Idaho.
In the past week the Government has ordered Kerry council to obliterate the name Dingle from all roadsigns. The former name is now covered by green tape. The Government also signalled that it will ignore the outcome of the plebiscite, which it says contravenes the Official Languages Act.
“It’s Dingle, that’s it, the deeds of my house say it,” said Mary Devane, who has transformed her house into a campaign centre. “The poems and the songs and the headstones in the graveyard say so. If they don’t respect the will of the people we’ll end up marching on the Dail.”

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