Drains Bay name change bid attracts media focus

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THE local lobby in favour of changing Drains Bay’s name to something less lavatorial has gained momentum since the Larne Times reported on the campaign last week.

Resident Patricia McNeill, who has asked Larne Borough Council to investigate if a name change is feasible for the hamlet, was invited to put the case on three local radio programmes.

As reported last week in the Larne Times, on our website (www.larnetimes.co.uk) and on our Facebook page, Patricia and a number of like-minded locals believe the unfortunate associations of the word Drains detract from the beauty of the Coast Road settlement. She suggested the alternative Drinns Bay in her correspondence with the council, adding that she understood it might be an Anglicisation of the village’s original Gaelic name, which referred to blackthorns growing in the area.

However, there is also a school of thought which contends that Drains is the correct nomenclature.

“This village is named after the O’Drain family who lived here. It is nothing to do with blackthorns or drinns,” an indignant – although wishing to remain anonymous – reader told the Larne Times.

It appears the O’Drains and the Drains who settled on either shore of the North Channel are a branch of the Scottish MacDonald clan.

Mrs McNeill told the Larne Times she is aware of the theory. “Another possibility is that Drains originates from the Viking name, Adrian, which seems quite logical given that the bay afforded a safe harbour and Branch Road was an ancient route linking the coast with settlements inland long before there were proper roads.”

Larne Times readers have also had their say on the subject (see below).

Larne Council, meanwhile, has agreed to investigate publishing a policy that would enable individuals or groups to press for locality name changes. However, director of development Linda McCullough has warned that the process would be “complicated and costly” for those seeking change.

She explained that new signage and alterations to Ordnance Survey maps would be required and it could only happen if at least 75 per cent of residents came out in favour of a name change in a survey, which the petitioners themselves would have to fund and carry out.