Divided by counties

 

Sir, – I have enjoyed Frank McNally’s unfolding narrative about Barnard Castle (An Irishman’s Diary, May 27th and 28th).

It lies in the one county in Britain which is named in the same format as its Irish cousins, namely County Durham. The best theory for this anomaly is that, like the Irish counties, Durham became a county after the Norman invasion when the prefix “comté” was introduced rather than, say, the former Anglo-Saxon word “shire”. Of course, the most Irish spot in England used to be (the informally named) County Kilburn but I think that it is now significantly drained of its Irish roots. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN O’SULLIVAN,

Letterkenny,

Co Donegal.