Friday 22 March 2019

'We want Enniscrone back'

Campaigners for the Enniscrone plebiscite outline its importance

Jenny McCudden

The large white windmills on the hills overlooking Enniscrone indicate you are on the right track when trying to find the seaside resort in West Sligo.

But then again, you would have to know about the windmills in the first place. Most first time tourists to this scenic spot don't. Such visitors are relying on road signage or google maps, both of which give directions to Inishcrone - not Enniscrone.

"We have a constant stream of people who come in this time of the year who could not find Enniscrone driving from Dublin. All of the turn off signs say Inishcrone. They get lost and aggravated and are an hour behind in their journey," explains local publican Anne Gilroy of Gilroy's Bar.

"Some motorists have tired children in the back. It is frustrating for them. They come in here for a well earned drink and all are asking the same question 'Why are there two place names?'" Anne says.

The confusion over the two names is even more extreme for foreign tourists.

Holidaymaker Willi Kiefel from Germany recalls his first visit to the town: "It was certainly more confusing for me. In fact, I had to be told that Enniscrone and Inishcrone were one and the same place."

With the recent introduction of the Wild Atlantic Way the issue has become increasingly problematic for the tourism market.

On a visit to the town last week in glorious sunshine most people who spoke to The Sligo Champion were of the same opinion, Enniscrone should be the official and only name.

Of course locals were the most vocal on the matter. Indeed a special committee has been working tirelessly for the past year to have Enniscrone recognised as the correct name rather than Inishcrone, as it is spelled officially.

Solicitor Sinead Durkin who returned home to set up practice in the place she grew is delighted with the progress so far of the committee.

She explains: "We followed the Dingle model with regard to a plebiscite. We carried out extensive research and put up a convincing argument about why the name should be changed."

This was considered by the County Sligo Placenames Committee who came back in favour of supporting the community in their efforts. There followed a motion put before Sligo County Council in March 2018 which sought a plebiscite to be held for both the English and Irish placenames of Inishcrone. The Council then paved the way for a plebiscite to take place this coming September.

"It will be a postal vote," explains Sinead, "We estimate 1,500 people will be eligible to vote. The definitive list is still being finalised and will include hinterland areas."

Sligo Champion