A reader writes:
You shouldn't be so coy in responding to your readers on the Derry/Londonderry debate. Both are correct (even being Catholic, I'd argue if the submission came saying Londonderry, it's Londonderry), but your compromise was spot on.
The UK has just begun the process of having a 'City of Culture' and the inaugural city will be nominated as 'City of Culture 2013'. There was a competition to see which city in the UK would get the title, which is designed to attract tourists and increase spending on cultural activities. Birmingham, Sheffield, and Norwich were beaten out by a hard-fought campaign by that city in Northern Ireland. Part of the branding of the campaign was that the hybrid name Derry/Londonderry was used (as can be seen by this BBC headline). Alternatively, you could just use the common nickname 'Stroke City' (a play on the English football team 'Stoke City') because of the backslash involved in the compromise.
As a sad PS, this pseudo civil war is not as certainly confined to history as we had previously hoped – things are looking precarious again in Northern Ireland, and there is a real challenge for the media as to how to neither ignore, nor destabilise the peace process by affording undue coverage of, the riots and terrorist attacks of the last couple of months/years. Things are much better than they were, granted, but far, far from being resolved. The threat from the Real IRA is nothing like as great as it was from the PIRA, but is considered serious compared to other sources of terror.
There is a Derry/Londonderry in New Hampshire. The east side of I-93 around Exits 4 and 5 is Derry and the west side is Londonderry. Apparently, Derry was part of Londonderry until they broke off. Seems the story goes that the merchants in old Londonderry wanted to have a separate town and when one day the Londonderry farmers (who opposed the secession) did not attend a town hall meeting, they passed the law to split the town.
I know there are a thousand or so more pressing matters in 2010, but this surprised me: does the Dish really have no opinion about the conflict in Northern Ireland? Boston-Irish-Catholic-by-heritage that I am, I've always found it hard to sympathize with the view that the British have any kind of right to rule Northern Ireland, but I understand that intelligent people disagree.
But no opinion?? Mr. Sullivan, a diehard Catholic, Irish blood and English heart, vociferous critic of Israeli oppression, has no opinion on the troubles in Northern Ireland? I just can't imagine that's true.