5th April, 2001


Dear Michael,

While taking a walk through the east Village the other day, I decided to go down the "New Road" in the East Village. I like the design of the area very much. The question I would like to ask is 'What name is on the new shopping centre? ' It is built on what used to be known as "Pipers" and it will probably always be known as 'Pipers', so why not call it "Pipers Court"? Any takers on my suggestion?

(Name and Address with Editor)


Most visitors to Ireland are intrigued with the sound of our native place names. There is a magic and music in most of them which delights the stranger and the stories and meaning behind the names never fail to interest them.
The poetic genius of the Gael is nowhere more marked than in the apt designation of mountain plain, glen, river and bog. Ancient traditions and personages that might otherwise have been long forgotten are immortalised because their associations with certain places have been remembered in the name.
We buy antiques of all descriptions and preserve, renovate, refurbish and then display them to our contemporaries. There is a human tendency or artistic taste inherent in all of us to hold on to the past and show the best from a different era. Some people go for furniture, pictures, icons, old cars etc, etc. The list is endless in the tangible sense. But more important in the intangible sense are the place names handed down to us and remaining durable until now. A very rich area of our heritage and one that with a little guidance we can all appreciate.
Nearly everybody buys, builds or improves his or her' abode at some stage of life. Everybody likes to give their home a name. It has a certain amount of sophistication plus a special identification. What usually happens is that people are influenced by the Media, T.V., magazines, radio, newspapers and foreign travel. The result is the hackneyed type of name that you get all over the English Speaking World.
Now there are a lot of beautiful Irish place-names, which gives us a special difference, a distinctive character, a contrast and relevance with the environment. This is a cultural aspect of our heritage presented to us without red tape: something to be preserved. Looking around Cork City of late, there are a lot of new, closes and downs, not to mention the names of English towns given to new housing estates. These names seem to be out of harmony with the people and cultural background of Cork.
If people and housing contractors persist in so naming their homes and estates, you have indirect erosion of our native culture. Why destroy it and adopt English names for native Irish ones which are there in every townland? Every piece of land taken over by builders, especially in the suburbs, has an original Gaelic townland name. Why not use those?
We have legislation for pollution of the atmosphere. 'We have legislation for many other things. Why not have legislation for the preservation of our native place-names?

Caóimhín Ó Buitléir