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"We can prove...it's Shrove! 09.12.08

Greencastle townland reclaims its name

VISITORS to east Inishowen could be forgiven for thinking there are three different townlands near Greencastle all with similar-sounding names.
But one local man is trying to put paid to the confusion that surrounds Shrove, Shroove, or is it Stroove?
Charlie McCann's family has lived in the townland for three generations. He tries to explain how the confusion about the placename arose.
Charlie McCann at the Stroove sign. "Everybody here calls it Shrove but it's pronounced Shroove, so that's how we think that spelling came into usage. My sister and I looked into it and we found that in the official Census of 1659 the townland was named as Shroove," explained the 79-year old retired Foyle Pilot.
"The next time it appeared was in the Hearth Money Rolls of 1665
where people, believe it or not, were taxed in accordance with the number of fireplaces they had in their house.
"In the Hearth Money Rolls, the name of the townland was Shrove - so it would seem that six years later, they got it right."
But then we come to the most controversial version of the name - Stroove. Charlie explains that this variation came about during the Ordnance Survey of the 1830s, undertaken by British military engineers.
"It would seem that for some reason, the English could not get their tongues around the local pronunciation and put in the letter T to get around it. We think the same thing happened over in Strabane and Stranorlar. So even though nobody here uses it, Stroove has been the official spelling since the mid-19th Century, although things are starting to change.
A signpost erected just a couple of years ago at Carnagarve in Moville returned to the correct spelling.
The earliest known version of the name is 'Srubh Brain' translated as Bran's Point.
A signpost with the correct spelling for Shrove.
According to Charlie, Bran was a seafarer of old although nobody knows whether he existed in fact or only in legend.
Clearly, the word Srubh or its many variations means point or headland. Other ancient written records refer to Shrove as Shrone, i.e., sron, the Irish word for nose. "This would fall in with Shrove being the nose, point or headland of an area," added Charlie. Meanwhile, it would appear that Shrove has nothing to do with Shrove Tuesday because this version of the word is said to derive from the English word 'shrive' - to be forgiven - in preparation for Lent.
Nevertheless, the people of Shrove would prefer their townland to be called Shrove whether it's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...or any other day of the week!
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