Sometime in 2004, a commemorative plaque appeared on the west side of Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge in memory of “Fr. Pat Noise.” It remains there to this day, honoring a man who never existed.
The full text reads: “This plaque commemorates Fr. Pat Noise, advisor to Peadar Clancey. He died under suspicious circumstances when his carriage plunged into the Liffey on August 10th 1919. Erected by the HSTI.”
For almost two years the plaque went unnoticed and certainly unquestioned, until journalist Eoghan Rice of the Sunday Tribune newspaper brought it to the attention of Dublin City Council. It quickly became a cause célèbre among historians, journalists, writers, and the media. Dublin historian Pat Liddy quickly concluded it was a scam or hoax. Dublin City Council came to the same conclusion.
Dermot Lacey, Labour Party councillor put forward a motion in 2006 that the plaque should remain in situ as it was “a bit of madness, a bit of colour.” The city decided to leave it in place, as it had become popular among Dubliners who would take photos of it and also leave floral tributes beside it from time to time.
The plaque is believed to be the work of two brothers, and that “Fr. Pat Noise” is a loose play on the Latin phrase “Pater Noster” meaning “Our Father.” The profile of Fr. Pat Noise is thought to be that of their father. The also fictitious organization who supposedly erected the plaque, the HSTI, is thought to be a potential anagram of a rude word or perhaps just “this.”
An anonymous “friend of the artist” wrote to The Irish Times: “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.”
Stranger still, while no Fr. Pat Noise ever existed, there was however a real Peadar Clancy (spelled incorrectly on the plaque). He was an Irish Republican killed in Dublin on Bloody Sunday in 1920, during the Irish War of independence.
Know Before You Go
The Plaque is in the depression left from the long gone Millennium Countdown Clock situated on the West rail of the bridge just North of the O'Connell Bridge brass plaque.