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Our cottage has a name. Rose Cottage. I know that’s its name because there is a sign made of metal bolted to the outside wall beside the front door that declares it “Rose Cottage”. The sign comes complete with a garish metal rose, its bloom painted pink. Also, the auctioneer’s online listing for the cottage referred to it as “Rose Cottage”, as does the recently signed deed to the property and buildings therein.

Why is it named “Rose Cottage”? Well I suppose it could be possible that a rose bush or two once resided on this property. Possible, but looking around the place it hardly seems likely. From the front door to the very narrow, hole-ridden country road, or bóithrín, that leads to our place, the ground is covered with what the Realtors referred to as “a stone garden”. I would have called it ‘a gravel front yard’ but who am I to say? I am an American and I am not a Realtor (at least not since I let my unused Realtor license expire about 25 years ago). The rest of the property is pretty much rocky and overgrown with weeds and rushes and that tough, spiny shrub with the tiny, yellow flowers that is found anyplace in Ireland where it has not been ripped from the landscape… furze. Yep, more like “Furze Cottage” I would say.

Then there is the possibility that it is not named for a flower at all, but for a person. This cottage is over 100 years old and its history could include a person named ‘Rose’. Perhaps it’s the sad story of a lovely ‘Irish Rose’, a young bride who died too young, in childbirth perhaps, and whose young husband in his grief, christened their little home “Rose Cottage”. Or was it a more homey Rose? A sturdy countrywoman who spent her life raising children, helping her husband with the farm and lovingly cooking the family meals over the very hearth that now contains the woodburning stove in which my husband lit so many fires the three days we spent there in November? I would gladly keep the name for either of those two Roses.

So, where does this name come from? This is an important question because, due to the lack of an actual address, the name of this place is a very serious affair. As I am not particularly fond of roses I, along with Himself (my husband), decided that we would only keep the name if it is determined to have a history with the cottage and the property. Otherwise, we’ll change it. And the only way to find this out, apparently, according to any Irish person I asked, is to talk to the local postman. And speak with the local postman is exactly what my husband did when we were last in Kilkee. He stopped by the Post Office, or Oifig An Phoist, and spoke to a man sorting mail. When he inquired about the property it just so happened that our cottage was on this very man’s route. The postman assured us that this was the first time he had ever heard our cottage referred to as “Rose Cottage”. The postman asked for my husband’s last name and when my husband gave it to him he was told there is another family with the same last name on his route so he would need to know our first names as well in order to deliver our mail!

So the name “Rose Cottage” has no historical significance for our cottage. And since it has no aesthetic appeal either, it will be changed… once we think of another name. We have thought of simply changing it to its Irish translation ‘Teachín Rós’. We could call it ‘Teachín de Búrca’ for ‘Burke Cottage’. Or, maybe we should go with ‘Furze Cottage’… because after all, “… a rose by any other name… “

the Furze Plant - from druidry.org

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