Name origin and spelling
palmer" in medieval times was a pilgrim who returned from the
Holy Land with a palm branch or leaf; in the case of Palmerstown the pilgrims were associated with the
leper hospital of
Saint Laurence in the
townland of the same name.
 The spelling "Palmerston" rather than "Palmerstown" was fixed by the
Ordnance Survey of Ireland in the 1830s; this remains the legal spelling and is officially recognised by
South Dublin County Council.
 Locals generally use "Palmerstown", and
road signs have used both.
Local Government Act 2001 requires a
plebiscite of residents for a legal name change.
 In 2009 a plebiscite to change to "Palmerstown" was narrowly defeated.
 Supporters of the change argued that the wording of the ballot confused some voters who wanted "Palmerstown" but voted No.
 They also argue the spelling without W creates confusion with
Palmerston Park further east in
 Opponents argue the cost of changing road signs is prohibitive.
 Others argue that the name "Palmerston" legally applies only to the
civil parish and townland, and that the locality known as "Palmerstown" has a separate identity.
 In 2014, another plebiscite was held, restricted to the
electoral division (ED) of
Palmerston Village (bounded by the Liffey,
) and excluding the adjoining ED of
 The vote passed and the change to "Palmerstown Village" was approved at the county council meeting in January 2015.
Viscount Palmerston created in 1722 in the
Peerage of Ireland derives from the place;
 its spelling also varied,
 but the form "Lord Palmerston" is now usual for
the Victorian prime minister.