National Museums NI buy Carson uniforms at Dublin auction

The BBC reports that the ceremonial uniforms belonging to Sir Edward Carson, which Eamonn mentioned previously, have been bought at auction in Dublin for £43,000 by National Museums Northern Ireland. From the BBC report

“We are very pleased to have acquired these ceremonial uniforms,” said Dr Jim McGreevy, of National Museums Northern Ireland. “Sir Edward Carson was a formidable lawyer and one of the most prominent politicians of his time. He played a defining role in shaping our history. “The acquisition offers opportunities for the future display of the uniforms in appropriate historical contexts not least the forthcoming centenary in 2012 of the Ulster Covenant, an event already referenced in the Ulster Museum through the very pen used by Carson to sign the Covenant.”

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  • I wonder how they’re going to commemorate the Larne gun running?

    Then again the DUP did get there first with the arms buying trip to South Africa for the Third Force maroon berets….

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Interesting programme running on BBC2 (sun) and later on that foreign station RTÉ called Teorainn – Border about the setting up of the sectarian statelet and about how upwards of 80,000 of the british were abandoned to the Free State wolves in ‘the lost counties’ by Carson/Craig. As the programme says “realpolitik necessitates that some principles must be thrown out”. We could, in 2012, have sectarian riots and internment and marches past by the RUC (A,B andC Specials). The world will be our oyster.

  • Congratulations to all at the Museum….it is good to have this historic uniform to display during 2012, when we celebrate the signing of the Ulster Covenant.

    Carson was a great leader and with his Unionist colleagues saved Ulster from Rome rule…..

    No Surrender

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    If you go to the Ulster museum that the sort of thing you would expect and like to see – wonder when they will go on display?



  • Drumlins Rock

    my guess is they are building up stuff for centenary, it would be good if we all could celebrate/commerate the 1912,1914,1916,1918,1920 all those dates without reliving them, its a very important period for both side and had good and bad things for both side to remember, maybe some common ground can be found and then let each side celebrate the bit they want to as well.

  • Drumlins Rock


    grow up


    Fine thoughts and sentiments Drumlin………………….. BUT when is ANY Northern state agency going to spend public money on SOMETHING/ANYTHING that commemmorates OR celebrates IRISH NATIONALIST culture and identity? All of this Orangefest/Ulster Scots/Nomadic/Carson nonsense is desperation stuff from British government and rabidly Unionist Northern state bodies to buy off Unionism/Loyalism and keep them on board politically. It is SO obvious, pathetic and almost laughable if it wasn’t so serious. EVERY time some small insignificant trinket or bauble genetically linked to Unionism is put on public sale……….the cry goes up ‘WOE……..Unionism is doomed if this is not bought and preserved’. It is a total disgrace.

  • RepublicanStones

    Like him or not, Carson left a legacy which is part of Irish history so at least they’re in a local museum.

    Any chance of putting a display of some of Wilde’s memorbilia up beside them 😉


    However it is further symptomatic of just how tight the DUP totally controls the political institutions. What they say goes is the general rule and I have to agree with the SDLP that Sinn Fein are the very much the junior submissive partner in a totally Unionist dominated parliament. Stormont, Belfast City Hall, Belfast City etc………ALL Unionist shrines with NO mention of ANY Nationalist/Irish culture or identity give or take 1 or 2 hidden windows in the City Hall.

  • USA

    I don’t know if it was public money or not, but I would not have spent money on these items. Having said that the museum board obviously would. But it seems way too much of a stretch to denegrate everything Unionist because of this purchase. You can’t link it to Orangefest etc, I would like to think there is a wide range of perspectives on the board at the museum, surely there has to be?

    Having said that, my one story of the Ulster museum is that many years ago when I was in Belfast I saw an ad in the paper about the Civil War exhibition at the Ulster museum. I thought great, very open minded of the folks down there so I planned an afternoon at the museum.
    I was astonished to find when I got there the exhibit was all about Cromwell and roundheads. It was all about the English Civil War and had nothing to do with Ireland or Ulster at all.
    I was very dissapointed.
    However I cannot believe, as Lurig seems to think, that the museum would favor one historical narrative at the expense of another. Evidence please Lurig?

  • Panic, These Ones Likes It Up Em.

    The Nation of Ireland must gather information from all sections of its society.

    It is knowledge of our nations history that will unite us.

  • Rory Carr

    This purchase should not really provide for contention between nationalist and unionist; Unionists can be happy to have the uniforms available to view in the museum and nationalists can rejoice that Carson is no longer around to wear them.

    It is what I believe is nowadays referred to as ‘a win-win situation’. No?

  • Garza

    I’m glad that Carson’s uniform is on display. Carson has played a big part in the history of this island.


    I’m pretty sure they have lots of artefacts from the ancient celts, although I have not been in it since it was refurbished.

    If a little uniform annoys you so much, well says alot about you doesn’t it?

    Republicans like to keep pointing out to us unionists that we are Irish. Why then are you affended by displaying artefacts of an Irishman?

    Is this is what’s going to happen if there is United Ireland? The unionist identity/history removed from our museums LURIG?

  • Rory Carr

    Perhaps these artefacts might be useful to the unionist community in the way that Marian statues are from time-to-time in backward Catholic communities; as for example when (often after a rain shower) tears can be seen flowing from the Virgin’s eyes it can be taken as a sure sign of some malaise within the Irish nation – jitterbugging and jiving, women wearing rouge, schoolboys smoking and playing with themselves (not at the same time we trust), workers brazenly demanding fair wages – that kind of thing.

    Maybe a split appearing in the trouser department of Sir Edward’s dress uniform could be taken as a portent that Unionism itself was in grave danger of tearing itself apart or a sudden visitation of moths upon the display might well be a sign that the Unionist message of old was becoming a bit stale for the younger generation.

    If so employed I am quite sure that this £43,000 would be money well spent (just so long as it’s not any of my money).

  • “so long as it’s not any of my money”

    My goodness, Rory, did you hand over more than £43,000 in tax this year? 😉

  • Rory Carr

    Not so far, Nevin, but…you never know, the year is not yet out.

  • Trev

    Quelle surprise! The usual Republican monkeys start jabbering at the termerity of a representation of the unionist narrative being given space.

    From the standard “they’ve no culture” to being happy to “rejoice” in someone’s death all pretty( or rather not so pretty) predictable stuff.

    Now what was that sh*t about an ‘Ireland of Equals’?

  • Brian MacAodh

    he’s an important historical figure. I don’t have a problem with this purchase

  • kensei


    he’s an important historical figure. I don’t have a problem with this purchase

    Not in principle, as long as nationalist figures are represented. But is this value for money? I have no idea

  • Paisley Lives

    Carsoni never actually lived in the Six Counties. His July 12 1920 speach fomented the subsequent pogroms. He hounded Oscar Wilde. I can understand why the Ulster (sic) Museum wants his gear. Why not put in something on the South African gun running too? Cans of worms.

  • Richard Aardvark

    Well Lurig they did have the drawings of a child blown up by the ‘RA on display. So go and proudly celebrate your culture.

  • Richard Aardvark

    Paisley Lives,

    Carson didn’t hound Wilde. He defended the Marquess of Queensbury when Wilde prosecuted him and advocated no further action.

    And considering Wilde was happy to enjoy watching lynchings on his way to pay homage to Jefferson Davies I really don’t think Carson can be criticised for “hounding” anyone.

  • Dubin voter

    Shame on the National Museum in Dublin for not outbidding its Northern counterpart for this. Carson was after all a true Dub – one of our own -and we shouldn’t have to travel all the way up to the North East to see his uniforms and stuff.
    Just like the Greeks want the Elgin marbles, we want our Carson uniforms back!

  • Doctor Who

    Dublin voter

    Good point, although I don´t think it totally necessary for Dublin museums to keep pro British memorabillia after all just walking around the fair city one can appreciate just how steeped in British identidy it is.

  • Occasional voter

    The fact that this purchase has caused debate and controversy shows that the Museum was justified.

    I would be more concerned if they had spent thousands on something no one gave a damn about.

  • Peter Fyfe

    I really can’t see how people can be annoyed at this purchase. He was a major player in the history of our island. History should not be about taking sides although it generally is on here I suppose.You can not block out aspects of history because you disagree with their political opinions or the influence they had in activities you find questionable. The past must be there for future generations to learn from and it is not up to us to decide who were the good figures and who was bad.

  • BonarLaw

    “I was astonished to find when I got there the exhibit was all about Cromwell and roundheads. It was all about the English Civil War and had nothing to do with Ireland or Ulster at all.”

    That’s right. The war which started over a funding crisis to put down an Irish rebellion and ended with a second plantation has nothing to do with Ireland or Ulster at all.

  • Peter Fyfe


    Would you not consider the genocide that took part in drogheda and wexford to be part of irish history? ( You missed that bit Bonar Law) With the conquest of Ireland he wiped out a potential base for royalist opposition. The irony of it all. It would be silly to suggest the English civil war played no part in Irish hisory. History should be about painting a whole picture, not only the bits you like best.

  • greagoir o frainclin

    Ah Carson (Ned to his pals) the great Dubliner from the southside of the Liffey!

    Come to think of it, two of the greatest symbols of Ulster Unionism today come from the south of Ireland – Edward Carson and the River Boyne.
    A tough one to swallow for some!

  • USA

    Boner and Peter,
    Cromwell didn’t come to Ireland until 1649, that was after the English civil war had ended. I am aware of the massacres at Drogheda and Wexford. I certainly would not suggest that the English Civil War did not play a part in Irish history, but as best I can remember the exhibition was very small and addressed the English Civil War with nothing more that a hat tip (if anything at all) to the Irish connections.
    My point was rather that the ad should have read “English Civil War” and not “The Civil War”.

  • Richard Aardvark

    “A tough one to swallow for some!”

    Only for nationalists it would seem.

  • cushy glenn

    It wasn’t an English Civil war- it was the war of three Kingdoms
    Cromwell moved on to Ireland after he had sorted out Scotland. Charles was king of all three kingdoms and had adherents in each

    “Come to think of it, two of the greatest symbols of Ulster Unionism today come from the south of Ireland – Edward Carson and the River Boyne.”

    three actually- Colonel Edward Saunderson

  • The Third Policeman

    three actually- Colonel Edward Saunderson

    Surely he was from Kentucky?

  • greagoir o frainclin

    “Only for nationalists it would seem.”

    Ah na, they are great tourist attractions if we could only get you tight arsed cranky lot to visit them. Too busily counting your Euro’s from the Free State, no doubt!

  • Richard Aardvark

    “Ah na, they are great tourist attractions if we could only get you tight arsed cranky lot to visit them. Too busily counting your Euro’s from the Free State, no doubt!”

    No, we simply recognise Dublin is sh*te. Paris, Venice, Prague, Budapest are only a couple of hours away. Why bankrupt yourself paying for a fourth rate city?