The Wellington Testimonial, standing over 200 feet tall is Europe’s largest obelisk. It was built between 1817 and 1861 as a commemoration to the victories of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. It has 4 bronze plaques, one on each side cast from cannons captured at the battle of Waterloo. Wellington was born in 1769 in Mornington House in Dublin in what is now the Merrion Hotel. He was also known as ‘The Iron Duke’ and is more often remembered as a soldier rather than as a politician. He however became Prime Minister during the reign of George IV after being Commander in Chief of the British Army. As Prime Minister, Wellington was very conservative, yet one of his first achievements was overseeing Catholic emancipation in 1829. This granted almost full civil rights to Catholics in the United Kingdom. The ‘Iron Duke’ died in September 1852 after a series of seizures. After lying in state in London, he was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral. (R)

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