Signs of the Time#12

For this Signs of the Time I feature place names that often have nothing to do with the language they were originally intended for, regarding their snigger value in English. I’m sure there are plenty of place names in your neighbourhood that have warranted a chuckle. There’s a whole bunch in Ireland that’ve had me scratching my head in the past, like Hackballscross, in south Armagh. Here’s a few Irish place names and a couple of foreign place names, that might have you scratching your head. Scratching anywhere else might suggest a visit to the nearest medical clinic?

Muff, in County Donegal, is one of the best examples and there isn’t a joke about this town’s name they haven’t heard. So, don’t ask about the local diving club, Muff is close to the sea but the town is landlocked.


The success of the Fr Ted series has given the phrase ‘feck’ it’s own place in the Oxford English dictionary and raised Termonfeckin’s cool value on the snicker scales


But who wants to live in the towns of Fartsville or Poopsdale that have, what we used to say in the property journalism business, a crap address?


Then there’s some names, in political terms, that are just unfortunate, if unintended.


Or other place names, like this one,supplied by my old friend, Ronan Quinlan, from outside an old folk’s home, that might be called, a dead end.



10 thoughts on “Signs of the Time#12

  1. These are fantastic! In Suffolk there is a place called Swaffham Bulbeck, which sounds vaguely rude. Also in Cambridge city, the sign for Bateman Street is regularly defaced to make Batman Street. Who doesn’t want to live in Batman Street?!

  2. These are priceless.
    I once came across a village with the interesting (and possibly sinister) name of Dead Woman’s Bottom.
    A small place outside of Wrexham in N.E Wales is called Hope, so naturally everyone there lives in…..yep!
    In Co. Durham there is a small place with the evocative name of Pity Me; I was rather disappointed to find out Pity Me was simply an analgised version of something in Norman French (forgot what, too let down to care)

    • America is full of crazy place names and you have to think, what were they thinking? There’s a town called Hell, for example. I found two towns in Arizona called Surprise and Nothing so I wrote a short story called From Nothing to Surprise.

      • Apparently the ones in Arizona were often a kind of gallows humour by surviving settlers who had struggled across the arid hot lands and eventually just plonked themselves down anywhere.
        Good thought. Good title!

      • I enjoyed this colour filled journey. One man’s life and losses with the backdrop of some music that stays timeless. Jimmy keeps on moving all the same.

      • As you can see, this was written at the end of April and I’m hoping, three months later, my writing has improved. I’m trying different styles, looking for a wider range of subject matter, attempting, also to make my writing as concise, yet as descriptive, as possible. Thankfully, I can rely on you for comments. I’ve written four short stories this week but got a small handful of comments and one emoji. Sometimes it feels like I’m writing in a vacuum.

      • Ah, it happens. (I speak from experiences-many and varied)
        It must be the civil servant in me, the urge to reply.
        Anyway, they’re good stories (I wish I could write short stories, but I’m locked into Fantasy-Long-Novel-mode)
        Sometimes I do get ‘freeze’, but will try and keep giving feed-back.
        Just keep on writing. Go with the urge.
        Best wishes

      • Roger, thank you, again. Sometimes I set too many tasks for myself. Short story writing is certainly a different discipline but it keeps you sharp when you are writing a novel. As I am. Two, in fact and one of them is a science fiction novel.

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