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Last Updated: Monday, 16 April 2007, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
Town seeking its 'ancient harlot'
Locals say the name refers to a strong woman
Locals say the name refers to a strong woman
An Irish village has cleared the latest hurdle in its campaign to change its names to the Fort of the Harlot.

The loose translation of its old Irish title means "the stronghold of immoral women".

Many residents in the village of Doon in County Limerick reportedly prefer the name of Dun Bleisce, translated as the Fort of the Harlot.

However, locals said the name referred to a strong woman and local women were noted for their beauty and culture.

The first mention of the name Dun Bleisce was in 774.

The name was changed in 2003, but more than 800 local people signed a petition calling on the government to reverse the decision.

'Existing legislation'

It had been changed to An Dun - The Fort - by Irish language Minister Eamon O Cuiv after advice from the Placenames Commission.

However, local politicians backed the residents' campaign, which was also endorsed by a Limerick County Council motion of support.

More than 800 local people signed a petition to revert the name
More than 800 local people signed a petition to revert the name

Now, the minister has said while the commission maintained that An Dun was the "appropriate Irish version" of the name, the alternative "Dun Bleisce" had an "attested historical basis."

"As there is historical evidence to support both versions of the Irish name, I am open to accede to their request and it is legally permissible within the existing legislation for me to do so," he said.

Mr O Cuiv said he had published a draft order to change the village's name back.

"Assuming no strong objections are received, I propose to make the order in four weeks' time," he said Councillor Mary Jackman said she was absolutely delighted for the local people.

"I am really thrilled. Signposts had always been Dun Bleisce and I think it was bureaucracy or a little glitch in interpretation that changed it," she said.

"Nobody has any problem locally with the word. It is the old authentic name."

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