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Dublin: 20 °C Tuesday 16 July, 2019
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A campaign is underway to bring Napoleon's horse back to north Cork

The move is part of a bid to boost tourism in the area.

Napoleon Crossing The Alps by Jacques-Louis David
Napoleon Crossing The Alps by Jacques-Louis David
Image: Brandon Waselnuk via Twitter

THE WAR HORSE of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte could be set to return to north Cork, after a local councillor started a campaign to bring Marengo back to where he was first sold over 200 years ago.

Fianna Fáil councillor Bernard Moynihan believes returning the remains of the famed horse to the town of Buttevant would be an excellent way of boosting tourism in the area, which is the site of the annual Cahirmee Horse Fair.

However, standing in the way of the bones of Marengo returning to Cork are its current owners National Army Museum in Chelsea in London, and a rival claim from the Bartlemy horse fair, around 40km away.

Speaking to Patricia Messenger on C103′s Cork Today show, Moynihan said: “The horse Marengo, I have it from several local historians, that we should get this horse back to Buttevant where it was originally sold at the famous Cahirmee Fair.

It would be a huge tourist attraction. It’s in the National Army Museum in Chelsea. They have it. It’s not attracting tourists there. It has huge potential here in Ireland. We’re trying to rejuvenate tourism here in north Cork, with the Blackwater valley.

“It’s not a far fetched idea. It’s something I’ve thought through. It has potential for the north Cork area and for tourism.”

There is a fight on, however, as there is another school of thought which says that Marengo was bought at Bartlemy Horse Fair, some 40km away from Buttevant.

“Well you know, I’ve had no contact with Bartlemy on this issue,” Moynihan said. “I’m working on the absolute, verifiable facts I have from local historians that Marengo was sold at Cahirmee Fair.”

Marengo is said to have carried Napoleon into famous battles such as the Battle of Waterloo.

The horse survived the colds of Moscow, and survived the French retreat from Russia in 1812.

The horse passed into British hands after the Battle of Waterloo, and lived until the year 1831 when his remains were preserved and later passed to the Royal United Services Institute.

Marengo is believed to be the horse captured in paintings such as Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David.

A letter was sent to the National Army Museum in Chelsea last Wednesday, and the council are awaiting its reply.

“We need to look at every possible avenue to create tourism,” Moynihan added.

Read: President Higgins to make history as he visits FARC guerilla decommissioning site

Read: Dispelling the myths about the bombing of Nelson’s Pillar

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Sean Murray

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