Ireland has produced some of the world’s finest captains, skilled seafarers and formidable military strategists. And it’s no surprise their influence can be seen around the globe. Not only can we boast a connection to ‘the father of the American navy‘, our naval influence extends even further and many of the navies of South America owe their foundation and success to an Irish seafarer.
But there is one that perhaps stands out the most – a man who has left an indelible mark on the country of Argentina and became a hero to the Argentine people – Admiral William Brown (22nd June 1777 – 3rd March 1857).
Born in Foxford Mayo, Brown immigrated to America at a young age and became a skilled seaman and trader. During Argentina’s fight for independence from Spain in the 1800’s he offered his services to help and despite his lack of military training proved to be an astute naval strategist and won several significant battles. In 1814 he struck a decisive blow against the Spanish fleet and cleared the way for Argentinian independence.
In Argentina he is revered and many streets, place names and football clubs are named after him. Since the mid 1980’s Admirals in the Argentine Navy have worn replicas of Brown’s sword. One of these replicas is currently on display in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland in Dun Laoghaire.
Back in Ireland we also have monuments to this great man. In 2006 a monument was unveiled at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. And in his home town they recently opened the Admiral Brown Promenade.
The Argentinian navy tall ship Libertad visited Dublin Port last summer as part of its tour commemorating the 200th anniversary of Argentinean independence. The ship was open to the public and we went along to check it out. Check out our video below.