Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The town of Muff in Donegal has come in for a tough time of it lately. Firstly, a low fares airline has used a sign post for the town, portraying it as a sleepy, depressing spot in contrast to the sunny locations you could travel to with the same airline. To add salt to any wounds, the additional images of the town and docile inhabitants were not actually shot in the village but in England. Then the town’s unfortunate name was included in a list of the 22 worst town names in the world, coming in at number 19. The list as you can imagine is littered with bad language, references to bodily appendages and in the case of one New Zealand town, just plain unpronounceable words. According to the Independent article, linked here, the town also regularly gets a bashing from Graham Norton and Podge and Rodge. The only avenue I have to defend the town is that how we pronounce the town’s name is in fact a poor Anglicisation of the Irish word ‘Magh’. I can imagine the original names of many towns have been bastardised through the ages, with the true nature of their meaning being lost along the way. Unfortunately for Muff, the direct English translation of ‘Magh’ is ‘plain’ so unfortunately however images of the town are evoked they seem to be negative. The list of 'worst town names' is linked here.