The story of Father Pat Noise
Who was he and why has he got his own plaque in O’Connell bridge?
While you’re crossing O’Connell Bridge, it might be easy to miss the memorial plaque embedded in the stonework on the Ha’penny bridge side. This commemorative plaque appeared in 2004, in memory of Father Pat Noise, who –as reported on the plate- died under suspicious circumstances, drowning in the Liffey in 1919. What makes the whole story really interesting is the fact that it was placed here illegally and it is dedicated to a fictitious person. Yes, Pat Noise is a fictitious person and this plaque is a joke.
It was placed here without the sanction of any government official, but it wasn’t immediately noticed because it was sized perfectly to fit in the depression left by the control box for a Millennium Countdown clock: the idea behind which was that this green alarm clock projected on the River Liffey would count down to midnight on January 1st 2000 from March 1996. The clock was nicknamed, according to local sarcastic rhyming custom, “The Time in the Slime.” The clock was removed in December 1996, less than a year after installation because it had been plagued by technical and visibility problems.
One night in 2004, someone decided to install this perfectly-fit plaque into the control box clock. But, as told before, no such person as Father Pat Noise exists anywhere on record. Father Noise was supposed to be in the entourage of Peadar Clancey, a real Irish freedom fighter who died in 1920, but Father Noise’s name doesn’t appear on any list. So, this plaque is nothing but a harmless and hilarious joke.
Of course, the City Council immediately wanted the plaque removed and destroyed as it was unauthorized and undermined their authority over the city. But the Irish people stood in support of this subtle joke at authority, and people gathered and demonstrated around the plaque with messages such as Canonize ‘Noisy’ and much more.
So, even if the only thing we can actually say is that Father Pat Noise is a word play on the latin pater noster and the fictitious organization that put the Plaque (the HSTI) is clearly the anagram of shit, after very loud public demand, the city council decided to keep the dedication to Father Noise in place, as he had become a local fictional folk hero, like the well-known Molly Malone.
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