Square obelisk by footbridge with iron railing over wide stream, woods in background, Drogheda

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Where: Louth, Ireland

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When: 01 January 1870

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Today we change from the misery of a downtrodden people to a memorial to someone long dead. Drogheda is an historic and fascinating town and we really looked forward to finding out more about this obelisk.

And the community didn't disappoint - with thanks to DannyM8, beachcomberaustralia, O Mac, sharon.corbet, and John Spooner we learned a lot about the obelisk today. Including it's location (across the Boyne between Meath and Louth), purpose (to commemorate the crossing of William of Orange in 1690), date of construction (1736), and its fate (blown-up in the 1920s).


Photographers: Frederick Holland Mares, James Simonton

Contributor: John Fortune Lawrence

Collection: Stereo Pairs Collection

Date: c.1860-1883 (refined to 1869-1883)

NLI Ref: STP_1936

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 16311
thestereopairsphotographcollection lawrencecollection stereographicnegatives jamessimonton frederickhollandmares johnfortunelawrence williammervynlawrence nationallibraryofireland 1690 battleoftheboyne williamoforange boyneobelisk countymeath countylouth obeliskbridge drybridge blownup edwardthepopeheeney oldbridge

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  • profile

    DannyM8

    • 02/Dec/2015 08:43:13

    Are there no photos with dogs left in the archive?

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    DannyM8

    • 02/Dec/2015 08:56:59

    OSI Link

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    DannyM8

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:01:52

    The Boyne Obelisk erected in 1736, bearing this inscription: 'Sacred to the glorious memory of King William the Third, who, on the 1st of July, 1690, passed the river near this place to attack James the Second, and did, on that day, by a single battle, secure to us and to our posterity, our liberty, laws, and religion. The monument stood until 1923 AD and was then blown up by an early act of terrorism, allegedly with dynamite stolen from the nearby Irish Army base.The base of the Obelisk remains to this day with several stones still scattered around and in the River Boyne itself. From Here

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:02:41

    The present Obelisk Bridge is of lattice iron, built by Grendon’s Foundry in Drogheda and placed in position in 1869. It superseded a wooden bridge which was built at the ford sometime after the Battle of the Boyne. Just north of this bridge is an ivy covered rock about 30 feet high from the water’s edge, on which an obelisk was raised in 1736, which gives the place its name. This was a tall tapering stone monument commemorating ‘King Billy’s’ victory. According to D’Alton in his ‘History of Drogheda’ it was the first ever monument to the event. It stood on a square Plinth of 20 feet and was about 150 feet high. It had the following inscription: ‘Sacred to the glorious memory of King William the Third who on the July 1 1690, crossed the Boyne near this place, to attack James the Second at the head of a Popish army, advantageously posted on the south side of it, and did on that day, by a successful battle, secure to us and our posterity, our liberty, laws and religion. In consequence of this action James the Second left this kingdom and fled to France. This memorial of our deliverance was erected in the ninth year of the reign of King George the Second, the first stone being laid by Lionel Sackville, Duke of Dorset, Lord Lieutenant of the Kingdom of Ireland. MDCCXXXVI. His monument was erected by the grateful contributions of several Protestants of Great Britain and Ireland.’ For 187 years the monument was sketched and later photographed from all angles and used in the tourist brochures of the day until it was blown up in 1923.
    More at - www.independent.ie/regionals/droghedaindependent/localnot... [Ed. [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] - snap ! ]

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:05:53

    The bridge looks brand new and the stonework not weathered. So 1869 -ish?

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    O Mac

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:13:13

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ....................."act of terrorism" ?? We didn't see the word being used in Moyasta or Tullycrine.

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    DannyM8

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:15:04

    It seems that there is a plan to rebuild the Obelisk by L.O.L 1690 with funding from the Irish Government. The Lodge has purchased the land from the Boyne Foundation.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:16:50

    Streetview on the bridge, which is beginning to look a bit old.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:18:07

    NIAH article confirming the 1869 date, and that the bridge is inscribed : 'John Neville MRIA County Surveyor Engineer T Crendon & Co. Drogheda Contractors 1869'.

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    DannyM8

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:19:19

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] I copied from the Orange Order website, so it depends on your point of view!!

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    sharon.corbet

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:29:55

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] The DIA claims 1922 for the destruction. Plus that the obelisk needed restoring in 1895 after the "obelisk had developed serious cracks on having been struck by lightning."

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:35:54

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Grendon or Crendon ? I vote for "G" - www.independent.ie/regionals/droghedaindependent/localnot... ed. ... and I vote 1923 for destruction - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/200934153

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:43:10

    Current news (17 November 2015) - droghedalife.com/791/148672/a/concerns-over-condition-of-...

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 02/Dec/2015 09:49:09

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] There is a dog in this one Danny! He is in behind the rock having a piddle so you can't see him but I am reliably informed that he is there:-)

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    John Spooner

    • 02/Dec/2015 10:21:19

    On 6th June 1874 someone calling himself "Another Drogheda Man" felt moved to write to the Belfast News-Letter about the state of the obelisk. He says it it 'much superior in form to the "overgrown milestone" in Phoenix Park', but goes on:

    During my recollection of thirty years the incriptions on each of the four sides of the basement have been almost totally obliterated by the rude carvings of names that have thus attained an unenviable distinction. Several feet of the column itself are disfigured in a similar way, while many pilgrims were not satisfied till they had chipped off pieces from the base or column, which, I suppose, have gone down as heirlooms in their respective families. I apprehend it was in a somewhat similar way that the true cross was disposed of. It is a fashion as old as it is mean and odious. Twice during the period mentioned it has been attempted to destroy it by gunpowder. The attempts failed; but this Communistic way of doing business is, to my mind, respectable as compared with the usage of which I complain.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 02/Dec/2015 10:33:57

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner] Good stuff! These two images seem to be after the obelisk's 1895 restoration; it looks like the bridge got a lick of paint too ... (Beware of the moving cows) - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000325137/Image?lookfor=http:... catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000191736/Image?lookfor=http:...

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    Bwana_Samaki

    • 02/Dec/2015 11:55:47

    Certainly an act of vandalism if not terrorism.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 02/Dec/2015 12:07:18

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner I love it! "This Communistic way of doing business" in 1874? Given that Das Kapital was written in 1867 Communism had already developed a bad name:-)

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    DannyM8

    • 02/Dec/2015 13:07:37

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland I flipped the photo 90 degrees and I saw the dog, a Spaniel I think!!

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    derangedlemur

    • 02/Dec/2015 13:32:03

    What discussion did this come up in already that I know it got blown up? Did we have a picture of it in it's destroyed state? We even had this streetview of the remains: www.google.ie/maps/@53.7253749,-6.4169419,3a,75y,108.44h,...

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    John Spooner

    • 02/Dec/2015 14:15:27

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland The OED has citations for Communist (and Communism) as far back as 1840 in the sense of "adherent of theory advocating the abolition of private ownership", but not "would-be blower-up of Orange monuments".

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    sharon.corbet

    • 02/Dec/2015 14:32:55

    Someone managed to make money out of its destruction.

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    DannyM8

    • 02/Dec/2015 16:21:00

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Sharon, a mini Popish Plot!!

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    John Spooner

    • 02/Dec/2015 19:51:08

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland The earliest OED citation on 'communistic' is 1848 ... but I've found an instance 2 years earlier.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 02/Dec/2015 20:12:51

    Thanks [https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner]! And thanks all for all the inputs today - we've updated the map, dates, tags and description. To at least reflect some of the discussion today. Our colleagues in the National Gallery share a copy of an image (from their 1690 conservation project) which seemingly shows the obelisk prior to the 1869 bridge replacement/construction. (Although some artistic licence would seem to have been taken....)

  • profile

    O Mac

    • 02/Dec/2015 22:17:45

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] Sure why would you have to go all the way over to the National Gallery ?? Haven't you got your own copy. catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000320687

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 03/Dec/2015 07:18:48

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Owen, we are always looking for ways to support our poorer cousins!!

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    John Spooner

    • 03/Dec/2015 08:57:32

    Part of a lengthy account of a trip to Ireland published in The Preston Guardian on Saturday, November 27, 1880

    A few countrymen, a few sheep, a horse and cart in charge of a sand shoveller, five ducks floating about, and say six fish jumping up for flies, were the only representatives of activity we saw on the banks and in the waters of the Boyne, whilst crossing it at the Monument - rather a change from the time when between 60,000 and 70,000 soldiers were trying to slash, stab, and blow one another to pieces in its stream and upon its sides! We returned from the Monument by a road on the northern bank of the river, passing several cabin-like dwellings and ramshackle shanties, with poultry walking in and out of their doors, and bare legged children, with wondrously dirty faces, playing merrily at the sides, and a goat or cow or an aged horse occasionally tethered at the end thereof.

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    John Spooner

    • 03/Dec/2015 09:10:26

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] "obelisk had developed serious cracks on having been struck by lightning." Notices in the Belfast Newsletter in August 1895, which listed subscribers and their donations to the repairs* to the obelisk (including £1 from an American tourist party), said the costs would be more than £100, but assured potential donors that this would include a lightning conductor.** * Nowadays it would be called "Crowdfunding" ** They obviously didn't believe the old saying

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    O Mac

    • 03/Dec/2015 20:45:28

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner] That orange crowdfunded lightening conductor can been seen going up the side of the obelisk in this NLI megazoomable.... catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000542814

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    DannyM8

    • 04/Dec/2015 07:57:20

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/23142990679/in/dateposted/ Blown up 31st May 1923.

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    oaktree_brian_1976

    • 13/Sep/2016 02:12:49

    stereogram GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/indexGIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator