Another name change 'row' begins

ANOTHER name change 'row' has broken out in Londonderry. Although this time the name of the city itself is not up for debate.

Thursday, 12th August 2010, 11:03 am

However, questions have now been raised in one of Londonderry's most noted townlands after a new road sign has been placed, spelling the place name in a different way than is normally accepted.

'Campsie' is a townland dating back centuries on the outskirts of the city and is most known these days as a business hub. Research has shown that its name emanates from Gaelic with the word Camsan-meaning 'River Bend'. Situated in the Faughan Valley the name seems to have its origins in or around the year 1613.

Online references such as a 2003 'Dictionary of British Places Names', however denote the spelling of the townland as 'Campsey' and this is the way that the new road sign showing the way to the area has been spelled. Another reference -'Griffiths Land Valuation of Ireland' - in which Ireland's Valuation Department conducted its first survey between 1848-1864, also refers to the area as 'Campsey' and in fact divides the townland into two sections, 'Upper Campsey' and 'Lower Campsey'.

However, almost every single listing for the area on the internet, including residential and business addresses refers to the area by the widely accepted spelling of Campsie.

Another famed use of the name is the Apprentice Boys of Derry Campsie Club, named after one of the original Apprentice Boys, Henry Campsie.

The new road signs are situated close to the Whitehorse Hotel, off to the right of a new roundabout and now denote the way to 'Campsey' as opposed to Campsie. The new signs have been placed as part of the road revamp under part of the A2 Dualling Scheme that runs from Londonderry through to Ballykelly.

But, one Sentinel reader Mark Brown, has claimed the Department of Regional Development (DRD) has made an error in spelling the name in its 'new' format.

"They have spent a lot of money on this from the public purse and given the economic climate surely this is something they could have cut down on. But, if they are going to do this surely they could have paid attention to detail and done a professional job.

"There has been a lot of debate already about name changes around here. Is this an attempt at a name change without consultation!", he laughed.

However Campsie or Campsey is not the first townland in Northern Ireland to be subjected to such a debate. The Tyrone town of Donemana, or is that Donemana, Dunamanagh, Donemanagh or Dunnamanagh, has for many years caused confusion for many motorists reading the various roadsigns bearing its name.

In the Republic of Ireland the County Sligo town of Tubbercurry or Tobercurry has also caused consternation for tourists in the area for generations.

The Sentinel contacted the DRD about the Campsie issue and asked what methods the department employs in deciding on place names. The DRD stated that they consult Ordnance Survey maps to ascertain names and a spokeswoman for the DRD told the Sentinel: "Campsey is the correct name of the townland and the adjacent hamlet, according to Ordnance Survey maps."

Can you solve the issue the Campsie/Campsey debate? If you have any thoughts or information on the issue please contact the Sentinel on 02871348889 or email :[email protected]