1701 – Statue of William of Orange, College Green, Dublin




Of all the military and royal statuary in Dublin, that of William III drew most aggression, serving as it did as a focal point for annual Orange celebrations on July 1, the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, and on November 4, the king’s birthday.

On these dates the statue was painted white, the figure adorned with a yellow cloak, the horse garlanded with orange lilies and ribbons, and the surrounding railings painted orange and blue. Placing shamrock and green and white ribbons (the national colours) under the horse’s uplifted foot was even more provocative to the nationalists, who retaliated with stone throwing and rioting.


In 1710 the statue was smeared with mud and its sceptre stolen by several students from nearby Trinity College, more of whom were expelled. It was smeared with tar several times, and watchmen had to be posted at the statue to protect it. It was finally taken after it was badly damaged in an explosion in November 1928.

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