independent

Monday 18 February 2019

PRESIDENT SPARKS STAR AND CRESCENT DEBATE

Alison COMYN

THERE'S NO TURKISH FAMINE SHIP LINK TO DROGHEDA CLAIM LOCAL HISTORIANS. PRESIDENT Mary McAleese certainly brewed up a storm, or rather resurrected an old chestnut, with her remarks about the Drogheda Star and Crescent being used in honour of Turkish aid ships during the Famine.

Debate has raged for years about the origins of the town symbol, but an eminent local historian is in a position to offer the definitive answer.

Community historian Brendan Matthews, who has spent many years studying the subject, describes the tale as 'nothing short of sheer nonsense'.

'One of the more fascinating folklore stories regarding the town of Drogheda is the story of how a Turkish ship sailed up the Boyne estuary carrying a cargo of food supplies for the relief of famine distress victims in the town,' says Brendan.

'The tale was even highlighted some years ago by mayor at the time Frank Godfrey, who erected a plaque to commemorate the good deed that was supposedly, bestowed on the Drogheda people by the Turks, and in return for this gesture the Corporation of Drogheda adopted the symbol of the Turkish national flag which is that of a Star and Crescent.'

However, the tale he says is nothing short of sheer nonsense.

The Star and Crescent coat of arms of Drogheda in fact dates back to the year 1210 AD and perhaps even earlier.

'In April of the year 1185, the then Prince John made his first visit to Ireland where he granted extensive lands to the trusted Royal Administration with one of these being Bertram de Verdun who was found in Drogheda at this time.

'During his stay in Ireland the young Prince, who was then only 19 years of age, established the foundation of Administration and Law, which he later expanded upon in his second expedition to Ireland in his reign as King in the year 1210.'

Prince John returned to England in December of the year 1185 and by this time Hugh de Lacy was establishing the town of Drogheda.

Walter de Lacy, son of Hugh was then granted the town's first Charter in 1194 and by the time King John arrived back in Drogheda in 1210, the town was flourishing.

John's Coat of Arms was that of the Star and Crescent, taken from earlier expeditions with the Crusades to the Near East and so, by his own Charter to the town of Drogheda, the symbol of the Star and Crescent prevailed, the very same symbols appearing on coinage struck in Ireland at this time.

'Incidentally, the symbol of the Star and Crescent also appears in sculpture over the thrones in St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, which was also erected during his Lordship of Ireland,' adds Brendan.

'Apart from the symbol of the Star and Crescent representing the Coat of Arms of Drogheda and having no connection with the Turkish flag, the same symbol appears on the flags of the East Turkistan Republic, Pakistan, Tunisia and Malaysia.' PRESIDENT Mary McAleese certainly brewed up a storm, or rather resurrected an old chestnut, with her remarks about the Drogheda Star and Crescent being used in honour of Turkish aid ships during the Famine.

Debate has raged for years about the origins of the town symbol, but an eminent local historian is in a position to offer the definitive answer.

Community historian Brendan Matthews, who has spent many years studying the subject, describes the tale as 'nothing short of sheer nonsense'.

'One of the more fascinating folklore stories regarding the town of Drogheda is the story of how a Turkish ship sailed up the Boyne estuary carrying a cargo of food supplies for the relief of famine distress victims in the town,' says Brendan.

'The tale was even highlighted some years ago by mayor at the time Frank Godfrey, who erected a plaque to commemorate the good deed that was supposedly, bestowed on the Drogheda people by the Turks, and in return for this gesture the Corporation of Drogheda adopted the symbol of the Turkish national flag which is that of a Star and Crescent.'

However, the tale he says is nothing short of sheer nonsense.

The Star and Crescent coat of arms of Drogheda in fact dates back to the year 1210 AD and perhaps even earlier.

'In April of the year 1185, the then Prince John made his first visit to Ireland where he granted extensive lands to the trusted Royal Administration with one of these being Bertram de Verdun who was found in Drogheda at this time.

'During his stay in Ireland the young Prince, who was then only 19 years of age, established the foundation of Administration and Law, which he later expanded upon in his second expedition to Ireland in his reign as King in the year 1210.'

Prince John returned to England in December of the year 1185 and by this time Hugh de Lacy was establishing the town of Drogheda.

Walter de Lacy, son of Hugh was then granted the town's first Charter in 1194 and by the time King John arrived back in Drogheda in 1210, the town was flourishing.

John's Coat of Arms was that of the Star and Crescent, taken from earlier expeditions with the Crusades to the Near East and so, by his own Charter to the town of Drogheda, the symbol of the Star and Crescent prevailed, the very same symbols appearing on coinage struck in Ireland at this time.

'Incidentally, the symbol of the Star and Crescent also appears in sculpture over the thrones in St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, which was also erected during his Lordship of Ireland,' adds Brendan.

'Apart from the symbol of the Star and Crescent representing the Coat of Arms of Drogheda and having no connection with the Turkish flag, the same symbol appears on the flags of the East Turkistan Republic, Pakistan, Tunisia and Malaysia.'

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