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Double Take: The story of the hoax 'Fr Pat Noise' plaque on O'Connell Bridge

How pranksters erected a plaque on O’Connell Bridge and got one over on Dublin City Council.

IN 2004, A bronze plaque commemorating a priest named Fr. Pat Noise mysteriously appeared on O’Connell Bridge.

“He died under suspicious circumstances when his carriage plunged into the Liffey on August 10th 1919,” it reads.

The plaque, which measures 6 x 8 inches, went unnoticed for two years until Sunday Tribune journalist Eoghan Rice pointed it out to Dublin City Council in 2006. It soon became a phenomenon as authorities and historians tried to verify the tale at the centre of the plaque.

A 2006 report broadcast on RTÉ saw historian Pat Liddy call the veracity of the plaque into question and conclude it was likely a “scam”. Dublin City Council later confirmed that it was unofficially erected and that they had never heard of Fr Pat Noise.

However, Dubliners quickly fell in love with the hoax plaque with people leaving flowers at the site of Fr Pat Noise’s ill-fated carriage accident and queuing up to take photos.

The rumour is that the plaque was erected by two brothers and that the man depicted in the plaque is actually a profile of their father. Indeed, Fr Pat Noise is said to be a play on ‘pater noster,’ which is Latin for ‘our father’.

Someone claiming to be a ‘friend of the artist’ behind the plaque came forward anonymously and issued a statement to The Irish Times in which they expressed delight that the plaque had struck a chord with the general public.

I hope that this experience has lifted people a little and added in some way to their lives and, until its removal, may it bring a smile to all who pass the location of this ‘suspicious’ crash.

In December 2006, Labour councillor Dermot Lacey put forward a motion that the plaque should remain in situ.

Per this blog post:

Grinning, Cllr Lacey suggested that the plaque should remain in place because it was “a bit of madness, a bit of colour” and that the Council should just admit that they’d been bested and leave it in place.

The plaque was later removed in early 2007 before being replaced by the pranksters once more. Dublin City Council planned to remove the second plaque in May 2007 before Cllr. Dermot Lacey stepped in at the last minute to remind them that the council had voted to leave it in place the previous December.

Fr Pat Noise was then granted a last minute reprieve and has remained in place ever since, brightening up the lives of Dubliners every day.

As Dermot Lacey said in 2007:

It’s a monument to eccentricity and it adds a bit of colour to our lives.

The buildings we love to hate: An architectural guide to Dublin’s unsung modern landmarks>

More: This Instagram account collects gorgeous photos of Dublin’s most beautiful doorways>

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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