he story goes like this: In 1847, the worst year of the Irish potato famine, an Irish physician in
service to the Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul beseeched the sovereign to send aid to his starving
countrymen. His pleas moved Sultan Abdülmedjid
to pledge £10,000 sterling; however, upon
learning that England’s Queen Victoria was sending a mere £2,000, the Sultan, out of diplomatic
politesse, reduced his donation to £1,000. Nevertheless determined to give more, he secretly dispatched
three ships loaded with grain to call at the port of Drogheda in County Louth, north of Dublin. In gratitude, the
city of Drogheda incorporated the Turkish star and crescent into its municipal crest, a symbol that endures to
this day, appearing even on the jerseys of the Drogheda United football club.
Now, like many an Irish tale, some of the story is true and some is legend, while other parts? Blarney.
ROBERT FRENCH / BRIDGEMAN IMAGES