Monument to an event that never actually happened

WITH regard to the recent controversy regarding the 'Drake Sail' sculpture in Carrigaline, apart from the fact that Drake was an English buccaneer who led the expedition to massacre the inhabitants of Rathlin island in 1575 ...

... why was it deemed necessary to commemorate a totally fictitious event?

The 'legend' that Drake entered Cork harbour in 1589 was first mentioned almost two centuries later in 1750 by Charles Smith, a Waterford apothecary who took to compiling local histories of various counties.

His story was that Drake moored his ships "behind the shelter of Corribiny Hill." Later writers - and there were many - added the designation 'Drake's Pool.' Local Irish speakers until recently continued to refer to it as Tobar an Bháid ('Well of the Boat.')

Drake's movements over many years have been fully recorded and there have been many detailed biographies of him.

Nowhere is there a mention of such an exploit in or near Cork harbour, in 1589 or in any other year.

If the people of Carrigaline wished to commemorate a hero of the Elizabethan era, why did they not choose James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald of Carrigaline Castle, who led the Desmond rebellions, fighting for his country and religion until his death in 1579?

Diarmuid Ó Murchadha



Co Cork

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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