GeoCarta Has Moved

Jan 27, 2006

Street Map Stirs Controversy

A new street map of Northern Ireland's second largest city has stirred a long simmering controversy over what the city's name should be the Belfast Telegraph reports. The new map, the first of the city in ten years, will become available next Monday. What's unusual about this map is that the name on the cover and the title used inside will be different.

The cover of the map will state that it is a map of, "Derry". However, Ordinance Survey Northern Ireland has stated that inside the map will use the name, "Londonderry" until a legal challenge to have the name officially confirmed as Derry have been settled.

The confusing situation is part of a long effort to have the City of Londonderry officially re-named Derry. Nationalists on the city council want the city to be called, "Derry" which derives from the city's ancient Celtic name of Doire, or Daire. The name was changed to Londonderry back in 1613, and the unionists want to keep it.

As if having two names for one city isn't confusing enough, there has been another trend develop in the area. Back in 2004, when the city council was first preparing to mount its legal challenge to have the name of the city officially recognized as Derry, officers wrote to all the various bodies with "Londonderry" in their titles asking them to change their names to "Derry." Some agreed to the change, some declined to change, others, however decided to avoid the issue altogether and replaced the name Londonderry with the inoffensive title of Foyle.