Irish Balderdash: Nightfall in Ooghinneendonnellduff (Co. Mayo)


he name of this charming village means “inlet” and it sprang from the fishing industry, if you can call four boats a fleet. The fishermen go out every day at dawn and return at dusk with their catch as they’ve done for centuries. After a pint or two at the town’s only pub, they trudge home to their wives in medieval stone cottages. Now the thatched roofs sport satellite dishes so the Ooghinneendonnellduffians can enjoy five hundred channels of movies, infomercials, football, and of course ‘Paisean Faisean’.

by Siu Wai Stroshane

Irish Balderdash: Knockmealdown (Co. Waterford)


nockmealdown,  sure, a fine little town. Once and beforetimes, aaages before, a miscreant elf lad knocked on the door of the head of the leprechauns in that small town; said the elves would all leave if  he  knocked the elf down. The leprechaun swore if he couldn’t, his folk would do likewise the same, but the bet made him choke. They  brawled like great warriors a glorious day, but when the smoke cleared, the elf had held sway.

And that’s why of all of the towns in the green land of Éire, Knockmealdown’s the lone with no  leprechaun near.

by Lydia Ondrusek

Irish Balderdash: Daughter of a Poet (Ballykissangel, Co. Fictional)


aughter of a poet” (look it up) once inhabited the digital, pre HD, town of Ballykissangel. Founded in 1992 but not visited until 1996, this is Ireland’s newest and most famous berg. (Is berg even an Irish term?) It originated in the imagination and has remained in the imagination, barely changing until all changes stopped abruptly. I traveled there frequently, although it has been over two years since I visited. There is a strange nature evident here where thousands, actually millions, visit yet the streets remain unoccupied. This is the charm of this town. So popular, yet so untouched.

by Ellen Jantzen

Irish Balderdash: A Cnoc Buí (Knockboy, Co. Waterford)


ising seven-hundred-and-six meters into sky, unearthed at the base of the isle between the city of modernity and bustle, and the place where they make the Claddagh rings and speak old ways, sits a thing of majesty.  They call her Knockboy.  They call her Yellow Mountain.  Earth itself sent roving heaps of ice to polish her the right height to lookout for invaders of empires long from memory.  Travellers spring from her streams.  Plants with no purpose but beauty thrive into the strangest of soils on Éire.  But if no one tells you, you might think Knockboy only a mountain.

by Laura Hallman

Irish Balderdash: A dictionary of Irish placenames

…tionary of Irish placenames (cont’d)

Full of angry Lorena Bobbit types with philandering husbands and sharp gardening implements.
Home of the famous Annual Phlegm-Hacking Jamboree.
Memory-deficient population constantly surprised when someone raps on the door.
Like Knocknagoshel, but much more persistent visitors.
Plagued by fatal accidents involving thrill-seekers who can’t resist a dumb challenge.
Unpleasant community with collective genital fixation.
Infinitesimal hamlet inhabited by marijuana-growing twin brothers.
Where they go to mix up the dough for hash-cakes.
Where they bake up a batch.
Dictionary of Irish placenames (cont’d overleaf)
by Darragh McManus

Irish Balderdash: Stillorgan (Co. Dun Laoghaire)


n area of Dublin, north of Stepaside. As is well documented, Dublin was one of the last viking settlements outside Scandanavia. The Irish ‘Dubh Linn’ translates to ‘Blackpool’ and one must consider it to be the Norse equivalent to the gaudy northern English tourist town. Stillorgan was the site where the bodies of many berserker variety comedians are said to have been thrown having literally corpsed whilst performing at Odin’s Gala and Sunday Rune Bingo in Stepaside. Such entertainers include Snorre Brown, Bjornard Manning and Jim Davidson the Knut.

by The Estate of Zachariah Falla

Irish Balderdash: Moss-Side (Co. Antrim)


girl from the village that was named in her memory wanted to help feed her family. She often accidentally killed garden plants and disliked killing animals, so was at a loss. She asked a neighbor for help and was told to hunt mushrooms. The woman warned of poison mushrooms that like sunshine and said to search the shady side of the trees. The girl frowned, confused. The crone explained, “The Moss-Side, silly girl!”

The girl found five lonely toadstools and thought they needed tasting before serving. Clutching her throat, she gasped “but they were on the Moss-Side!” and died.

by Emily E. Jones

Irish Balderdash: Roscrea


n idyllic town, Roscrea is the hidden jewel of Ireland.  It was home to a convent, built in the medieval era for nuns who vowed to sing at all hours of the day.  They sang to the plants, which grew massive and fed the village.  They sang to the lace they crocheted, which shone like pearls and brought in money to expand the building’s walls.  After the war, the convent was abandoned, but if you stand at its doors, you can still hear the music, and it will lift your soul out of the puddles and into the sky.

by Emily Markussen Sorsher

Irish Balderdash: Muckanaghederdauhaulia (Co. Galway)


n May each year the muirmucka return from the sea to spawn on their native beaches just outside Muckanaghederdauhaulia. Before hunting was banned in 1974, a local family could walk the beach with sacks and knives and gather–in a single day–enough protein for an entire year. My auntie Blinn met my uncle Brocc on such a hunt in 1961. Brocc offered to put up Blinn’s muckmeat in his family’s smokehouse. By the time the hams, bacon and tailfins were ready to eat, the happy couple was engaged. This year is their fiftieth anniversary. Comhghairdeas!

by Fritz Bogott

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.