If you visit a foreign land and kill enough locals, you get to lose your ‘illegal immigrant’ label. Better yet, you get to name the place where the dead people used to live.
That’s why the Kansas City area is littered with names like Pawnee, Mohawk and Navajo, yet finding a traditional authentic Pub throbbing with Algonquian speaking peoples is a bitch.
An English friend once told me England was unique in having place names that are funny all by themselves, like Tooting, Fiddleford, Limpley Stoke and Giggleswick. I suggested he go visit other countries, but try not to conquer them this time. No he didn’t know Ireland has a place called Muff, which was ironic for a man whose greatest passion was diving.
I don’t think Irish place names are any funnier than Ethiopian ones, but because most of ours are anglicized (by a conquering people I like to refer to as illegal immigrants), so they look like meaningless gibberish, well they can be funny to english-speaking people.
In reality most Irish place names mean things like ‘the homestead by the stream of the oak tree plain‘ or the ‘big church on the hill over there by them woods‘ which admittedly is not as funny as ‘patients left in dark during electricity strike‘ or ‘drugs gang flees country in turf war with socialists‘, but hey, that’s empires for ya.
Wrap your laughing gear around these Irish place name chucklers, why don’t you:
Knockaunnaglashy Knockanarrigan Knocknagashel
Inishvickillane Inishboffin Inishbiggle
Killogeenaghan Kilmactranny Killeenadeema
Cahirciveen Caherconlish Caherdaniel
Borrisokane Borrisoleigh Borris-in-ossory
Glencolumbkille Glennavaddoge Glenageragh
Lismacaffry Lisnagarvey Lisnalinchy
Portballintrae Portnablagh Portavogie
Ballyjamesduff Ballymacelligott Ballyhackamore
Monasterboice Monasterevin Monasterleigh
Rathnamuddagh Rathdrishoge Rathmarega
Enniskerry Enniskillen Ennistimon
Craigdoo Portnoo Gortnahoo Kilaloo Belcoo Madadoo
Crossmolina Crossmaglen Crossmaheart-notmakindisup
Now these might not be funny to you, but they give us knowing smiles. That’s why Sinead O’Connor suggesting the Virgin Mary appeared in Glenageary is funny. It has all to do with Glenageary. The Mother of God appeared in Knock, but what’s funny about that? Nothing. Knock is not funny.
As a general rule (though it’s not enforceable) think three syllables is funny, like Gortnahoo or Illegal, and four syllables downright hilarious, like Portavogie or Immigration.