"Where the foreleg of King Billy's horse pawed the air Mrs Breen plucked her hastening husband back from under the hoofs of the outriders." (U10.1231)
William III of England (1650 - 1702), whose statue on a horse stands in College Green, is known in Ireland, mainly among Unionists, as King Billy. A Dutch aristocrat and a Protestant Prince of Orange, he won the English, Scottish and Irish Crowns after defeating his uncle and father-in-law, the Catholic king James II. In Ireland, the decisive battles between the Williamites and the Jacobites were the battle of the Boyne (1690) and the Battle of Aughrim in Co. Galway (1691). The latter battle was the bloodiest ever fought on Irish soil (over 7,000 people were killed) and practically ended Jacobitism in Ireland.
This is a closer view of King Billy's statue, with the foreleg of his horse pawing the air. It was commissioned by the Dublin Corporation in 1700, and was the work of Dutch sculptor Grinling Gibbons. The king is in Roman armour and crowned with a laurel wreath. The pedestal is formed into pannels, and decorated with military emblems. On the pedestal is inscribed: 'Gulielmo Tertio, Magnae Brittanniae, Franciae, Et Hiberniae Regi, Ob Religionem Conservatum, Restitutas Leges, Libertatam Assestam, Cives Dubliniensis Hanc Statuam Possuere.' The monument was unveiled, amidst great pomp and ceremony, on the 11th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne (July 1st 1701), inaugurating the period of Protestant ascendancy known as the Penal Laws. It was to serve as a shrine to the cult of King William throughout the 18c. Besides the anniversay in July, there was a yearly celebration on the King's birthday (November 4th), in which the Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of Dublin participated; the Lord Lieutenant would lead a parade of nobility and military from Dublin Castle to College Green to salute King Billy; Williamite associations such as the Boyne Society (and later the Orange) marched through Dublin streets, sporting colours, banners and arms; the evening saw bonfires, illuminations and elaborate fireworks.
The statue of William III on College Green is intensely resented (and often defaced) by Irish nationalists. Here an Irishman is provoking a highland laddie to play 'The Boyne Water' (an Ulster Protestant folksong commemorating the Battle of the Boyne), in order to start a fight! Also, not all Irish Protestants like King William III. A Trinity student was expelled, soon after the statue was unveiled, for drinking a toast to Sorrel, the horse that threw William to his death. In 1710, King Billy was daubed with mud and his sceptre stolen. After a £200 reward was offered (£100 each by Dublin Castle and the Dublin Corporation), 3 Trinity students (Graffone, Vinicome and Harvey) were caught; they were sentenced to 6 months jail, a £100 fine, and to stand before the statue with a placard stating their offence. Though the sentence was commuted, they were expelled from Trinity as well. Four years later, a sentinel was posted in a futile effort to prevent further ongoing vandalism. A major assault on King Billy took place in 1882, soon after the unveiling of O'Connell's statue. Hundreds of people gathered around it yelling and throwing stones, riots ensued, and several arrests were made. The statue was targeted no less than six times until it was sent to the forge and recycled in 1946.
"She shouted in his ear the tidings. Understanding, he shifted his tomes to his left breast and saluted the second carriage. The honourable Gerald Ward A. D. C., agreeably surprised, made haste to reply." (U10.1233)
This PC shows the viceregal cavalcade (1906) near the statue of King Billy, with the newly appointed viceroy Lord Aberdeen, who succeded Lord Dudley. Lord Dudley later became Governor-General of Australia (1908 - 1911).
"At Ponsonby's corner a jaded white flagon H. halted and four tallhatted white flagons halted behind him, E.L.Y'S, while outriders pranced past and carriages. Opposite Pigott's music warerooms Mr Denis J Maginni, professor of dancing &c, gaily apparelled, gravely walked, outpassed by a viceroy and unobserved." (U10.1236)
"By the provost's wall came jauntily Blazes Boylan, stepping in tan shoes and socks with skyblue clocks to the refrain of My girl's a Yorkshire girl. Blazes Boylan presented to the leaders' skyblue frontlets and high action a skyblue tie, a widebrimmed straw hat at a rakish angle and a suit of indigo serge. His hands in his jacket pockets forgot to salute but he offered to the three ladies the bold admiration of his eyes and the red flower between his lips." (U10.1240)
"As they drove along Nassau street His Excellency drew the attention of his bowing consort to the programme of music which was being discoursed in College park. Unseen brazen highland laddies blared and drumthumped after the cortege:
But though she's a factory lass
And wears no fancy clothes.
Yet I've a sort of a
Yorkshire relish for
My little Yorkshire rose.
"Thither of the wall the quartermile flat handicappers, M. C. Green, H.Thrift, T. M. Patey, C. Scaife, J. B. Jeffs, G. N. Morphy, F. Stevenson, C. Adderly and W. C. Huggard, started in pursuit.
Striding past Finn's hotel Cashel Boyle O'Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell stared through a fierce eyeglass across the carriages at the head of Mr M. E. Solomons in the window of the Austro-Hungarian viceconsulate. Deep in Leinster street by Trinity's postern a loyal king's man, Hornblower, touched his tallyho cap." (U10.1258)
"As the glossy horses pranced by Merrion square Master Patrick Aloysius Dignam, waiting, saw salutes being given to the gent with the topper and raised also his new black cap with fingers greased by porksteak paper. His collar too sprang up. (U10.1265)
"The viceroy, on his way to inaugurate the Mirus bazaar in aid of funds for Mercer's hospital, drove with his following towards Lower Mount street. He passed a blind stripling opposite Broadbent's. In Lower Mount street a pedestrian in a brown macintosh, eating dry bread, passed swiftly and unscathed across the viceroy's path." (U10.1268)
"At the Royal Canal bridge, from his hoarding, Mr Eugene Stratton, his blub lips agrin, bade all comers welcome to Pembroke township. At Haddington road corner two sanded women halted themselves, an umbrella and a bag in which eleven cockles rolled to view with wonder the lord mayor and lady mayoress without his golden chain. On Northumberland and Lansdowne roads His Excellency acknowledged punctually salutes from rare male walkers, the salute of two small schoolboys at the garden gate of the house" (U10.1272)
"said to have been admired by the late queen when visiting the Irish capital with her husband, the prince consort," (U10.1280)
"in 1849" (U10.1281)
A CDV showing views of Dublin (1860s) not too long after the royal visit. Notice Carlisle bridge (no O' Connell monument), Tommy Moore's roguish finger, Nelson's pillar (no turnstile entry), the Custom House (no loopline), and King Billy's horse pawing the air.
"and the salute of Almidano Artifoni's sturdy trousers swallowed by a closing door." (U10.1281)