THE SKELETON of Napoleon Bonaparte’s war horse could be set for a return to Ireland after a campaign was started to bring it back to where it was first sold two centuries ago.
Marengo, the white stallion which the French Emperor rode into a number of battles, is believed by a local councillor in Cork to have been sold at the famous Cahirmee horse fair in Buttevant.
Fianna Fáil councillor Bernard Moynihan says returning the horse to Buttevant would bring a huge boost to local tourism in the area.
Marengo is currently on display at the National Army Museum in London, following a lengthy period of restoration work, but Cllr Moynihan says that the skeleton should be repatriated to Ireland and used as the showpiece for a museum in Cork.
Cllr Moynihan told The Irish Post: “The horse Marengo, I have been told on good authority by a number of local historians, was sold at the Cahirmee Fair about 200 years ago.
“I feel it should be returned to Buttevant. It would be a great spectacle, a huge boost for tourism here.
“The horse is currently in the National Army Museum in Chelsea but it’s not attracting many tourists. We’re trying to rejuvenate tourism here in north Cork and the horse Marengo would be key to that.”
Cllr Moynihan revealed that he has tried to contact the museum in London over the possibility of the artefact’s repatriation to Ireland.
— National Army Museum (@NAM_London) January 12, 2017
“I’ve sent a letter to the National Army Museum in Chelsea last week, they haven’t replied yet,” he said.
Cllr Moynihan further stressed that the Buttevant area had a rich historical background which Napoleon’s horse would only add to.
A team of 16 archaeologists spent two years excavating the streets of Buttevant during a €5million effort begun in 2014.
The archaeologists announced that they had unearthed a total of 2,788 artefacts, ranging from a gold ring inscribed with the year 1713 to ancient coins.
Cllr Moynihan said that the finds should be placed on display alongside Napoleon’s horse.
Napoleon is believed to have rode Marengo into a number of famous battles including the Battle of Waterloo.
The horse was wounded nine times during its career, and was seized by the British after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.
Marengo is believed to be the horse immortalised in the famous painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David.