Thursday 17 October 2019

Poignant moment for Amanda at the Cord

Amanda Ryan with her boys George and Mark.
Amanda Ryan with her boys George and Mark.
The unveiling of the Collier memorial stone.

Hubert Murphy

Local woman Amanda Ryan admitted it was a very special moment when the new memorial stone to Michael Collier - Collier the Robber - was officially unveiled on Saturday morning.

The Bellewstown woman is the great, great grand niece of the highwayman, buried on the spot 170 years ago.

'I grew up with the stories of Michael Collier and today I live where the coach used to pass at 'Merry Turn', she stated.

Erected in the centuries old Cord Cemetery and organised by Mayor Frank Godfrey, the new stone is set to become a great tourist attraction according to the mayor.

'Michael Collier from the Bellewstown area, was a sort of Robin Hood or Dick Turpin type of character, known for robbing the rich and giving to the poor. He may have been Ireland's most notorious highwayman!,' he stated.

'This memorial headstone - erected at last - will be a focal point for locals and tourists alike, possibly being a 'Dark Tourism' point of interest. On the walking tours of Drogheda, surely this ancient burial place of great historic interest where we now stand, Collier's grave will be a huge attraction.

Historian Brendan Matthews gave the story of Collier and his many adventures and revealed that despite his many robberies and raids, he only ever killed one man, Patrick Woods from Duleek, a member of his own gang. 'He apologised to the passengers when he robbed the coaches,' he added.

Local poet Bridie Maxwell read a poem about Collier, one part summing him up... 'One would have to think highly of this highwayman,

Of great gall and bravery who roamed the roads,

Of Bellewstown and many Irish roads beyond,

I am so very glad you now have your dignified place of rest,

Befitting a great man who enthralled the land throughout.'

Drogheda Independent