Tyrone on University Challenge

Observed on University Challenge, 6th October 2008:

Jeremy Paxman: Starter for ten – Rathlin Island, Bushmills distillery and the Giant’s Causeway are all located in which county of Northern Ireland?

St Andrews – Smith: Tyrone?

Paxman (in very patronising voice with that unique expression on his face combining a sense of superiority and condescension):  Goodness, no, it’s Antrim.  D’oh!

So news of the Red Hands’ All Ireland success has reached the hallowed cloisters of Scotland’s oldest university?  But just to make it clear to “St Andrews Smith” it’s just a piece of silverware – it doesn’t involve annexing other counties.   Still, at least he pronounced it correctly , rather than saying “Tie-rone” like most of the RTE commentators. 

As Jeremy no doubt would have taken great pleasure in elaborating if he’d had the time.



  1. T’ain’t neccessarily so, Aidan. As authoritative as this source might be, you as a Clare man should know that pronounciation of placenames is determined over the generations by continued usage within the local population, not by what some academic in an ivory tower decides.

    Being a large mainly rural county stretching from Lough Neagh’s western shore in the east, to within 10 miles of the Donegal coast in the west, pronounication in the county depends on the local accent, which may vary between something like “Tarr-owan” to “T’rone” both of which are variations of the standard “Tirrone”, which is the generally accepted version..

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