Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

The Glorious and Immortal Memory. Commemoration at the Dublin Statue of King William of Orange.

Not all Irish Protestants were uncritical supporters of King William, and because the King had shown partiality towards Dissenters, Irish Tories were ill at ease with the reverence afforded William III by their Whig rivals. These views were especially entrenched in Trinity College, which overlooked the new statue, and led directly to the expulsion of one student for drinking a toast to Sorrel, the horse that threw William to his death. Another student was stripped of his degree for comparing William unfavourably to an executed highwayman. In 1710, William's statue was daubed with mud and his sceptre stolen. Following an offer of £100 reward by Dublin Castle and a further £100 by Dublin Corporation, three Trinity students were caught and prosecuted for the offence and sentenced to six months imprisonment, a £100 fine, and to stand a day before the statue they had vandalised with a placard bearing witness to their offence. The sentences were subsequently commuted, but it was too late to save the students university careers and they were not readmitted to the college. However, four years later the sceptre was stolen again and broken, and when those responsible were not discovered, a sentinel was posted to keep guard in a futile effort to save the statue from further vandalism. Over the years the statue continued to attract the unfavourable attention of the students of Trinity College.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the Dublin Castle administration began moves towards reconciliation with Irish Catholics. As part of this policy, St. Patrick's Day became the national day of celebration and the 12 July commemoration at King William's College Green Statue no longer attracted an official presence. The Dublin Orangemen did continue to attend the commemoration throughout the nineteenth century and intermittently up to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

Throughout WW I, and afterwards during the Irish War of Independence between 1919 and 1921, all formal public commemorations ceased and were not resumed after the Anglo Irish Treaty of 1921. In 1929 the Statue was blown up by persons yet to be identified. Ironically, given the animus of the students of Trinity College towards King William's statue, the site is now occupied by a statue of Thomas Davis, renowned co-founder of the Young Ireland movement, author of the song A Nation Once Again, and graduate of Trinity College.

  • Pages: 1
  • 2