Monday 24 October 2016

Plan to send Mayor's 226-year-old coach to London slammed

The Lord Mayor of Dublin's ceremonial coach
The Lord Mayor of Dublin's ceremonial coach
Mannix Flynn

Concern has been expressed about a proposal to send Dublin's 226-year-old Lord Mayor's coach to London to take part in a pageant.

The gilded ornate coach, valued at €3m, would be transported to participate in the Lord Mayor's Show in London, which celebrates its 800th anniversary on November 14.

It may be the first time the coach has left Ireland. It is used just twice a year - to bring the Lord Mayor to the Dublin Horse Show and in the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in the capital.

Described as "a virtual art gallery on wheels," it is stored in a temperature-controlled room at the council's sewage plant at Ringsend.

In the past it has been deemed to be too fragile to be put on permanent display.

Members of the council's protocol committee indicated this week they were in favour of Tourism Ireland organising it to be sent to London.

But Cllr Mannix Flynn told the committee it was "silly and wrong" to risk transporting it out of the country.

"I'm very concerned about the laissez faire attitude to this art object which is the pride of Dublin citizens," said Cllr Flynn.

"If a painting is to be taken and moved from the National Gallery it takes months of preparation. We need to have more respect for our culture and heritage.

"At the moment, the carriage is stored in a climate controlled room and it's in a fragile state."

"The idea of transporting it out of the country seems silly and wrong," he added.

A Dublin City Council spokeswoman said the matter was not decided yet.


"Currently there is an invitation facilitated by Tourism Ireland for the coach to be included in the parade in London," said the spokeswoman.

"A decision cannot be made to send the coach until funding, insurance and other issues are sorted out.

"A report will be brought to the next Protocol Committee meeting on October 1 when a final decision will be made.

"Until then, it is premature to discuss the possible travel arrangement for the coach."

Beatrice Kelly of The Heritage Council told the Herald that precious art objects sent on loan abroad would be expected to have detailed plans for their care and protection.

A similar agreement regarding the coach would be expected, she said.

Built in 1789, the coach was used at annual events to mark the birthday of William III. The carriage won such acclaim that the British monarchy ordered a copy to be made for use in London.

It was placed in storage in 1932 due to its poor condition but returned to public life in 1976 following restoration.

Former Lord Mayor Royston Brady came under fire when he used it for his wedding in 2003.

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