Thursday, April 22, 2010

Old park, new name?

Dublin City Council have been taking submissions on the proposal to rename the park in Merrion Square to something other than Archbishop Ryan park. Way back when, the Catholic Church had hoped to build a new cathedral in the square but when that failed to come about, the then Archbishop of Dublin donated the land to the city and they named it after him. To most Dubliners the place is just known as Merrion Square and I would say very few know the official name of the park. I only learned of its title in 2007 when I was reading the report of a Dublin City Council meeting where it was mentioned and I had resort to Google to find out what they were talking about.

However, after the recent revelations about Archbishop Ryan's action (or inaction) in the child abuse scandals there has been a groundswell of support for changing the name of the park. Of course the usual knee-jerk suggestions of "Abuse Park" and "Child Rape Memorial Park" have been bandied about. More useful suggestions such as "The Children's Park", "James Joyce Park" and "Oscar Wilde Park" have also been proposed.

To my mind too much emphasis is placed on the literary and artistic in Ireland and not enough on our scientific achievements. Therefore my short submission to the Council is to name the park after either Ernest Walton, the first man to split the atom and Ireland's only Physics Nobel Laureate, or William Rowan Hamilton who invented Quaternions and what we now call Hamiltonian Mechanics. While I doubt my suggestion will be the one eventually chosen, someone has to stick up for the nerds and geeks.

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