What’s in a name?

MacHale Park

Terry Reilly has an interesting piece in today’s Irish Examiner about the subtle alteration that has recently occurred in the spelling of the name of the county ground and why this has taken place. Like myself, you may not have noted that McHale Park has recently mutated to become MacHale Park (let’s leave the Elvery’s bit out of it for the purposes of this discussion) but, as Terry explains, it has and it’s all to do with how Archbishop John MacHale – in whose honour the pitch is named – spelt his name.

The descendants of the former Archbishop of Tuam – led by great, great grandnephew, former Mayo state solicitor, Liam MacHale – pressed for the change, citing a stone carving from an altar in the Vatican Basilica – where the Archbishop’s name is included and where it’s spelt MacHale – as evidence. They could also (maybe they did) have mentioned that the listing for John MacHale contained in the Catholic Hierarchy’s website uses this spelling too.

So, over 82 years after it was officially opened, it appears that the ground formerly known as McHale Park will henceforth be known as MacHale Park (or Elvery’s MacHale Park). It was, of course, always, and still is, Páirc Mhic hÉil but that’s another day’s work entirely.

10 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Funny that. I always thought it was named after Johnny McHales! Seeing as half the crowd from MacHale Park seem to end up in Johnnies afterwards!!!

  2. The recently published Dictionary of Irish Biography lists him as MacHale also in its entry for him. This draws on earlier biographies, by Ulick Bourke and Bernard O’Reilly, both of which use MacHale. So, it seems the GAA have a bit of catching up to do.

    MacHale was a controversial figure and a stickler for detail. I wouldn’t venture into the correctness or otherwise of the Irish spelling; it might draw down the wrath of the Lion of the West.

    For anyone interested I can email the DIB entry for MacHale.

  3. This must rank as the most interesting blog ever.erudite and scholarly…just what you need on wet Thursday!

    Wonder if any ground or stand called after Mayomen other than Nally stand.

    Hope they rename county grounds Horan Park or Willie joe park if we get the elusive holy grail.

    My admiration for this blog knows no bounds!

  4. Archbishop MacHale played an important role with Daniel O’ Connell for Catholic Emancipation. Some man.

  5. Good stuff…I wonder are Mayo County Council without blemish in the spelling of the roadway outside the ‘Park’; if so have people received household charges at wrong addresses…summonses wrongly addressed?..it’s an endless litany

  6. John MacHale – Archbishop of Tuam, The Lion of the West and the Pride of Mayo, that’s how my Father referred to him as he spoke glowingly and with no little pride about this great Mayo Man and as I’m also John I prided myself on carrying his name – but now :))

  7. Thanks for the all that. Some is very amusing but I know someone who only got 1.r. in Finbarr due to the Birth Registrar.

    If, I may change the subject for a moment, If Kerry can’t draw Cork, If Monagan cannot draw Donegal, our chance of drawing Cork or Donegal must be considerably higher? that drawing Cavan or Meath/Tyrone.

    Apologies to Galway,London and Laois. They are all welcome, of course.

    Getting close to 8.30pm Saturday on RTE2.

  8. Most of the contributers to this blog are insightful, keen and on occasion, controversial. Sometimes, only sometimes, mind you it seems that possibley some may be writing in a different language. In order to plumb the depth of some of the commenters you’d need the equivalent of a speech bubble. Is there such a yoke as a writers bubble? Macale parke is a luvely plaice isent it. All tung no cheeke.

    Come On Mayo!!!

  9. Just reading in the Irish Examiner that David Clarke’s season is over. That is a massive massive blow to Mayo. O’Malley won’t be fit either for the QF so Hennelly will start in goal. He’s not a bad goalis but is 3rd choice and still suspect under high ball.

    Just no luck with injuries…

  10. Very unlucky with injuries this year. I recall Hennelly caught a mightly free kick that was sailing over the ball in the last few moments of the Connacht final in 2011.

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