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.