“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
The words of Shakepeare’s Juliet as she tells Romeo that it is the person ‘Romeo Montague’ that she loves and not the name ‘Montague’. For Juliet realises that the feuding between the Montagues and the Capulets is purely down to an artificial and meaningless focus on the familial name rather than the individuals themselves.
The outgoing Head of History at Mary Immaculate College has recently suggested that were King John’s Castle renamed ‘Limerick Castle’ then Shannon Development would find it much easier to market the castle and Limerick would have its name finally associated with its most notable feature. This suggestion came at the same time as a namechange was also being considered in the Regional Hospital, or should that be the Mid Western Regional Hospital? The recent addition of a medical department in the University of Limerick has now created the potential for a renaming of the hospital to University Hospital Limerick.
Whilst the renaming of our hospital makes some sense from an academic point of view, I have my reservations about the name of our castle. I recently asked someone what they thought about renaming the castle: “Well if you change the name of the castle what will happen to St John’s Cathedral or St John’s Hospital?”, they replied. We in Limerick will defend what is important to us to the hilt but often don’t realise what we are defending is a misinterpretation of fact. It could be suggested that, in our confusion over whether our Castle was originally funded by the great King John or dedicated to one of the many Johns who have been deemed worthy of sainthood, we have already proved that the actual name of a place is immaterial – it is the change that one fears.
It has been suggested that instead of Limerick Castle we should put more thought into the renaming. Maybe have a name which remembers the Viking links to the site. Maybe a reference to the Treaty of Limerick? Maybe reminders of our Cromwellian past? Limerick has so much history we could be days arguing the endless possibilities of potential new names for the site.
Rebranding costs a lot of money. It is never as simple as just renaming. Important elements such as marketing Materials, letterheads, websites or mementos in giftshops all must be recreated. The fact of the matter is this – we are awaiting construction to begin on the latest redevelopment of the site and adjoining lane. Until such time as they get the look, feel and offer right up there, any consideration of rebranding will be a futile exercise.
I heard a lady suggest we call it Gilligan’s Castle – after the man who has done so much for the Island. In that case we could be looking a whole new branding of the Island itself.
Gilligan’s Island, perchance?