Living history

Sometimes the attitude to our built heritage is so crass, I’m left speechless, and this is one such example.

Here’s a stone plaque in the wall of a house in Limerick’s William Street.  It says




AD 1789



That’s a month before the storming of the Bastille.  It would be a further two weeks before Captain Bligh and the other Bounty survivors reached Timor in their open boat. A month earlier, George Washington became the first president of the United States.  It was nine years before the United Irishmen uprising.

It was eight years after the Spanish founded Los Angeles.  Two years before the Haiti revolution.  Ten years after the start of the Boer Wars.

This plaque was inserted into the wall of a street in Limerick at a time of huge change in the world, but some small builder with a jackhammer either didn’t know, didn’t care or was instructed not to think about its significance.  The person who told me about this managed to have the vandalism stopped, but only after two phone calls to the City Council and far worse damage than when he called the first time.

You might think this is a small thing in the great scheme of things but I think it symbolises all the crassness that has afflicted our country and allowed the destruction of so much that is valuable.

Shouldn’t we all care more?  Once this heritage is gone, it’s gone.






16 thoughts on “Heritage

  1. This is fucking outrageous. We remain a country of ignorant peasants. We’re probably worse than we ever were in some respects.

  2. Big f**kin deal. It’s only of major significance to whinging attention seeking curmudgeons with too much free time for online ruminaton of their percieved ills of the nation. Gobshiterly, incompetence and indifference exist in all societies. As far as “western” nations go we are somwhere in the middle to lower third. Nothing necessarily to boast of but for a piss poor nation of historical underachievers we are slowly dragging our collective ass out of the mire. Patience Dr Bock…..

  3. You would be truly dismayed at some of the history I have been asked to demolish or concrete over sir. Luckily, respect for my own heritage has ensured that many a treasure has been restored and passed to the right people so that history can be enjoyed by those who shall live after we have gone.

    Not every Seamus is a fuckwit with a jackhammer and a lust for concrete kingdoms. Some of us have a passion for the past.

  4. There are many historical reasons as to why the Irish have had little or no respect for their (architectural) heritage, but it still does not excuse our actions over the past 20/30 years, as everyone has become aware of the importance of this …. unfortunately Mermoz is closer to the truth than most of us would care to admit.

    I’m living in France now, and it is admirable the ways in which the French protect their heritage, and not just the touristic landmarks in Paris either …. the reasons for this are complex, and perhaps it is unfair to compare the two countries given their different histories, but still ….

  5. France is maybe a better example of a REAL republic. They killed the aristocrats and preserve the heritage. We put aristocrats back in charge and destroy our heritage…..

  6. Everyone is assuming the people who broke the plaque are Irish. Why is this?

    I don’t know who damaged it. The post is about what we value, not what we damage.

  7. My default position is to assume that who did this is Irish. Perhaps that is not fair, but I’ve seen enough of this kind of thing to feel comfortable enough making the assumption. If I am wrong in this case, then fair enough.

  8. “Why do comments people make after the pub all sound the same?”

    I know. I know. I reckon it’s the drink.

    1789. That is a while back all right.
    Surely to Christ, even the thickest burly builder would see 1789 and think, hmmm maybe we shouldn’t be destroying this. Maybe not.

  9. I wonder if some people, seeing a datestone from that long ago, don’t simply assume that it must be celebrating something British and therefore think that it can’t be of any great importance in todays world.

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