The ancient parish of Doon is situated on the border of County Tipperary in East Limerick.The origin of the name Doon, or in Irish, Dun Bleisce has for long been a subject of speculation. The first part Dun means fortification and a glance at an Ordnance Survey map shows eight ring forts in the area. The early settlers needed to protect themselves against their enemies, both human and animal. They built dwellings enclosed in circular earthen mounds for protection called raths or as we call them today ring forts. The original ring fort from which the name Doon came can be seen, behind the Protestant Church, just outside the village. The 'Bleisce' part is more difficult. Three possible explanations. The first one is that the name comes from a little stream, fleisc which flows through the village. However, more colourful explanations are that Bleisc was a swine herder for a local chieftain or the favourite, that Bleisc was "a woman of ill repute", a harlot whose "dun" was a favourite haunt of the red-coats. However, it is unlikely that the latter has much basis in truth.
For hundreds of years the Limerick village of Doon was known as Dun Bleisce. In 2003 however, the Placename commission recommended that the official translation for Doon be changed to ‘An Dun’ as it “was the appropriate Irish name for the village”.
After a sustained campaign by locals which included a motion being adopted by Limerick County Council in November 2006 to request the name be changed back change to the original Dun Bleisce, the locals go their wish. Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon O`Cuiv signed the name change tonight at a ceremony in Doon itself.
The Irish name ‘Dun Bleisce’ can apparently be traced back to the year 774.
The loose translation of its old Irish title means "the stronghold of immoral women".
Many residents in the village of Doon in County Limerick reportedly prefer the name of Dun Bleisce, translated as the Fort of the Harlot.
However, locals said the name referred to a strong woman and local women were noted for their beauty and culture.
The first mention of the name Dun Bleisce was in 774.
The name was changed in 2003, but more than 800 local people signed a petition calling on the government to reverse the decision.
It had been changed to An Dun - The Fort - by Irish language Minister Eamon O Cuiv after advice from the Placenames Commission.
However, local politicians backed the residents' campaign, which was also endorsed by a Limerick County Council motion of support.
More than 800 local people signed a petition to revert the name
Now, the minister has said while the commission maintained that An Dun was the "appropriate Irish version" of the name, the alternative "Dun Bleisce" had an "attested historical basis."
"As there is historical evidence to support both versions of the Irish name, I am open to accede to their request and it is legally permissible within the existing legislation for me to do so," he said.
Mr O Cuiv said he had published a draft order to change the village's name back.
"Assuming no strong objections are received, I propose to make the order in four weeks' time," he said Councillor Mary Jackman said she was absolutely delighted for the local people.
"I am really thrilled. Signposts had always been Dun Bleisce and I think it was bureaucracy or a little glitch in interpretation that changed it," she said.
"Nobody has any problem locally with the word. It is the old authentic name."