Saturday 19 January 2019

Wright descendants to unveil memorial

President Higgins invited to historic event at Drogheda port

Hubery Murphy

Up to 80 descendants of famed sailor Thomas Charles Wright will be in Drogheda on July 14th next to herald a man who helped shape the destiny of his adopted country, Ecuador.

Many of his South American relatives, some of whom are Wrights, will have the chance to meet Drogheda-based cousins during the visit.

A memorial to the great man is being planned for Fiddle Case Pier at the port.

Caffreys have been busy putting the monument together and President Michael D Higgins has been invited to be part of the day, along with the navy and officials from Ecuador.

Local man Noel Bailey has played a key role in the event in association with the Old Drogheda Society.

2018 is the 150th anniversary of the death of Wright who founded the Ecuadorian navy in Guayaquil.

Born in 1799 at Queensboro, Thomas Wright , a son of Thomas Wright and Mary Montgomery, went off to naval college in Portsmouth at the age of 12.

But the years would see him cast aside thoughts of joining the British navy, although he did take part in a blockade mission off the American coast at one stage - he went for adventure instead.

He ended up in South America where he met Simon Bolivar and they became friends.

From 1819, he fought in many battles and helped end Spanish rule in 1826.

He is remembered most of all for his outstanding bravery in the fierce battle for Quito which was fought on the foothills of Mount Pinchincha on 24 May, 1822, in which the South Americans won a great victory that liberated Ecuador.

Incredibly, the Spanish fleet were also beaten in a battle in the Caribbean, one ship commanded by Dick Wright, a cousin of Thomas.

He went off to Guayaquil to live, but the battles followed him and he led Ecuador to independence in 1830 and sent up a naval school, becoming commander of the Ecuadorian navy and governor of Guayaquil.

Drogheda Independent