Dingle - Name

Name

In 2005, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív announced that anglicised place names (such as 'Dingle') of Gaeltacht towns and villages would no longer feature on official signposts, and only the Irish language names would appear. The English language version of the town's name was thus officially dropped in early 2005, with the Irish name An Daingean being advanced.

In the case of Dingle, the move was particularly controversial, as the town relies heavily on the tourist industry, and there was fear that the change could prevent visitors finding the town. Detractors noted that tourists might not recognise the Irish name on sign-posts, and that there could also be confusion with a similarly named town (Daingean) in County Offaly. Supporters rejected this argument, pointing out that there are numerous towns in Ireland with similar names. The minister added to the controversy by suggesting that a name change to English could be brought about by removing the town's Gaeltacht status, thereby losing its entitlement to government grants for Irish-speaking areas.

In late 2005, Kerry County council approved the holding of a plebiscite for the change of name to the bilingual "Dingle/Daingean Uí Chúis" which took place in October, 2006. The result was announced on 20 October, and 1,005 of the 1,086 returned ballots (electorate: 1,222) favoured the change to the bilingual version. Éamon Ó Cuív stated, however, that there was no remit to act on the results of the plebiscite. Nevertheless, in 2008 Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley, announced his intention to amend the local government laws to allow names chosen by plebiscite to supersede any Placenames Order under the Official Languages Act 2003. This would mean that "Daingean Uí Chúis" would be the official name of the town in Irish, with "Dingle" the official name in English. However, the name of the town on road signs within the Gaeltacht will continue to display the name of the town in Irish only. In the meantime, some locals took matters into their own hands by spray painting "Dingle" on road signs that bore only the Irish version of the name.

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