Irish Balderdash: Courtmacsherry (Cúirt Mhic Seafraidh, Co. Cork)


n adventurer at heart, Francois La Coeur spent his early life on the remote Channel Island of Aurigny. Though it is now loyal to the British crown, it was then a remnant of the Norman conquest of Britain, an island enclave nestled close to the French coast. A farmer’s son, La Coeur spoke with a peculiarly British affectation, and yearned to explore the seas surrounding Aurigny. At the age of 19, he set sail in a small, wooden-hulled boat from St. Anne’s harbour, washing up three days later at the port of Kinsale (Cionn tSáile) in County Cork.

Extant records indicate La Coeur’s slow migration along the south coast of Ireland, and, after an intermission, the establishment of a small tomato farm by one Mr. Francis Court (Phroinsias Cúirt), aged 21, in a coastal village that was, unbeknownst to him, to become Courtmacsherry. Decades passed, and as the tomato crops grew larger, so too did Francis Court’s girth and social status. A nostalgic man who had, according to local sources, “degenerated into mere Irish”, the former Channel Islander named his farm “La coeur, ma chérie”.

Courtmacsherry, in its anglicised form, soon became the designation for this small constellation of anglers and farmers, and a 19th Century reversion to the Gaelic, Cúirt Mhic Seafraidh, cemented Francois La Coeur’s transformation into “mere Irish”.

by Daniel Le Ray


This post is a PREVIEW of good things to come at the Snake-Oil cure next week!  Editor DLR has crafted a rather beautiful fictional history of the town of Courtmacsherry, County Cork, Ireland and we want more from you!

Your assignment: Write us One Hundred Words worth of fictional history or etymology of an odd Irish place name.  Deadline Saturday, July 23, NOON (EST). Email entries to snakeoilcure [at] gmail [dot] com. More details here.

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