Friday, January 11, 2013



I like names which are distinctive, yet simple—and spelt phonetically at that. For instance, my eldest daughter is called Kira. Now there are several different ways of spelling that, ranging from Keira to the more complex (some Irish names are very hard to spell) but I lobbied for simplicity in the interests of her having one less problem to deal with in life. As it is, dealing with the apostrophe in “O’Reilly” is headache enough. Some computer systems can handle it—and some can’t. 

Bruff was originally my son’s working title when he was still in the womb. We could have called him “the bump” or something like that, but Bruff seemed more social, and I liked the name immediately I saw it. It is actually the name of a little town in County Limerick, Ireland just beside Lough Gur. At the time it was chosen, we were driving through it—no more than that.

Later, when Bruff popped into the world—a process that was, as is nature’s way, not quite that easy—the name seemed to fit.

Authors tend to attach a great deal of importance to names because they are so integral to one’s characters. If you use a name belonging to a friend, you can end up thinking of the friend not your fictional character—and that is undesirable because characters must develop lives of their own. As for the little town of Bruff, what I remember most about it was that is was just beside the rather pretty lake of Lough Gur. In the U.S., Gur would be called a pond, but in Ireland, where the scale tends towards the human, larger hills are called mountains and any reasonable body of water is honored by being called a lake.

Here is what Wikipedia says about the town of Bruff:

Bruff (Irish: Brú na nDeise) is a town in east County Limerick, in the midwest of Ireland, located on the old LimerickCork road (R512). The town lies on the Morning Star river, with two bridges in the town itself. The horse-shoe lake of Lough Gur is nearby.

Historical artifacts around the area date back to the Stone Age, with various buildings up to the early Christian still extant. Bruff is the hometown of American missionary and bishop John Joseph Hogan. In the sixteenth century it was granted to the Standish family from whom it passed by inheritance to the Hartstonge Baronets, and ultimately to the Earl of Limerick.

The town suffered heavy fighting in the Battle of Killmallock during the Irish Civil War. Near the Catholic Church, there is a large statue of Sean Wall, commander of the East LimerickIrish Republican Army and chairman of Limerick County Council until his death on May 6, 1921 during the War of Independence.

The former seat of the O'Grady family, Kilballyowen, is near Bruff.

It is also reputed that former US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a descendant of the Fitzgeralds of Bruff.[2]

I do rather like the punch line. The Irish will claim credit for anything, and not infrequently, that credit is deserved.


Orso Clip Art


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