Thursday, 5 March 2009
Centuries ago the island of Ireland was divided into units called counties. The number eventually settled at 32.
In 1921, when Ireland was divided, 26 of these counties formed what ultimately became the Republic of Ireland. The remaining 6 became Northern Ireland.
Those six are Antrim, Down, Armagh, Fermanagh, Tyrone and one with a name subject to dispute.
Back in 1585 the area between the River Bann and the River Foyle became a county. This area was to be administered from the town of Coleraine and was called Co. Coleraine.
In 1613, however, changes were made and the county was renamed. It became Co. Londonderry and the walled city of Londonderry was established on the west bank of the River Foyle. This new city took over from Coleraine as the county town.
It is the name "Londonderry" which is disputed.
The name used for the city or county often depends on the religious and/or political persuasion of the speaker.
Because Londonderry was the name given by an English government, it's commonly used by Protestants, who also tend to be Unionist in their politics.
Roman Catholics, on the other hand, almost invariably use the name "Derry". Politically they are usually Nationalists or Republicans. The more extreme Republicans want the name to revert to the original Irish, "Doire".
Despite the arguments, Londonderry remains the official name.
As for me? Well, regardless of politics or religion, I was born - and have lived almost all of my life - in Co. Derry.
In this blog I'll always refer to Derry...