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Last Updated: Monday, 8 October 2007, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Unionism founder to be honoured
Edward Carson
Edward Carson was a leader of unionism
The founding father of unionism, Edward Carson, is set to be honoured by his old university in Dublin.

NI's First Minister Ian Paisley will deliver the Carson Lecture on 19 October.

The lecture has been organised by the Trinity College Dublin Historical Society, of which Carson was a member during his time at Trinity.

The auditor of 'the Hist', as the society is known, Tim Smyth, said it was long overdue.

"He was one of the greatest lawyers of his day," he told the Observer newspaper.

"Given his place in history we decided it was long overdue. We are absolutely delighted that the current leader of unionism should give the inaugural lecture."

Carson - MP for Trinity - was the first signatory of the Ulster Covenant at a rally at Belfast City Hall on 28 September 1912 in opposition to Home Rule for Ireland.

Carson also helped establish the Ulster Volunteer Force, which had up to 100,000 members, to resist its imposition.

He was a gifted lawyer and defended the Marquess of Queensberry in the libel action taken by Oscar Wilde over Queensberry's allegations about Wilde's homosexuality.

Wilde and Carson were contemporaries at Trinity College and before entering the witness box, Wilde made the famous aside about Carson: "No doubt he will pursue his case with all the added bitterness of an old friend."

Carson statue at Stormont
The statue of Carson at Stormont was unveiled in 1932

Carson was also the victorious counsel in the 1910 Archer-Shee Case, on which Terence Rattigan based his play The Winslow Boy.

After partition in Ireland he was offered the leadership of the Ulster Unionists, but declined due to his lack of connections with Ulster.

He became a Lord of Appeal in 1921 and was created a life peer as Baron Carson of Duncairn.

Carson died in 1935 and was buried in St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast following a state funeral. He remains the only person to have received that honour.

A statue of him is in the grounds of Stormont. The inscription on the base reads: "By the loyalists of Ulster as an expression of their love and admiration for its subject."

His birth place in Harcourt Street was marked by a bronze plaque, which went missing earlier this year. The Republic's government has said they will pay for a replacement.

Wilde play casts light on Carson
04 Nov 05 |  Northern Ireland
If Edward Carson could talk...
08 May 07 |  Northern Ireland


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