Irish Balderdash: Dooneyvarden (Co. Clare)

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township in West Clare formed when an English mapmaker, exhausted from his trudge up Corkscrew Hill, asked a farmer if he might repast in his barn.

The farmer, with the Irish still on his tongue and the spirit much on his breath, thought the mapmaker threatened the virtue of his prized jennet, Dooney.

“Dooney’s a virgin!” cried the farmer, but the Englishman heard “Dooneyvarden” and, after descending the Corkscrew in wake of the farmer’s scythe, marked the area as such.

The name holds fast for the Irish love of any tale wherein an Englishman makes a jennet of himself.

by Amanda Bales