Browne Clayton Column, Ireland

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The column struck by lightning

Designed by Thomas Cobden in 1839 of Mount Leinster granite, at 94 feet tall the Browne Clayton column dominates its surrounding countryside in Country Wexford. Highly significant as the only internally accessible Corinthian Column in existence

Project overview

Disaster struck literally when the Browne Clayton Column was hit by a lightning bolt on 29th December 1994. Several huge stones were dislodged from the capital and the upper third of the shaft, and two large sections of masonry on each side were also pushed apart. This left a dramatic jagged opening about 5 metres high and 1 metre wide. Read more


The Brown Clayton Monument possesses both romantic and historic status. It commemorates General Abercromby who died heroically in Egypt during the Napoleonic Wars and is modelled on Pompey’s Pillar near Alexandria (AD296), which the General would have seen during the Egyptian campaign. Pompey’s Pillar was a popular classical landmark of the day, and the Irish version proved equally so upon completion. Read more

I am quite convinced that without the initiative of WMF Britain the dramatic and historic Browne Clayton Column on the border between counties Wexford and Carlow would by now be an unsightly stump, the monument having been so badly damaged by lightning.

Desmond Guinness, Founder of the Irish Georgian Society


Lat: 52.337, Lon: -6.464


Location: On a rocky outcrop on Carrigadaggan Hill, near the town of Wexford in Southern Ireland
Project dates: July 2002 – February 2004
WMF Britain project cost: €673,385 (£457,367)
Key Funders: : The Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage (£110,000) also supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation (£18,000) and others
Awards:The Opus Architecture and Construction Award for Heritage 2005 and the Irish Architecture Award 2005 - Special Award for Best Practice in Conservation
Links:Visit Wexford County Council or for the project architect

Lightning dislodged many stones and left a dramatic opening in the column

Project partners and conservators

Owned by Wexford Monument Trust
Project Managers – The Wexford Monument Trust
Architects – Howley Harrington Architects
Quantity Surveyor – Austin Reddy & Co.
Structural Engineer - Price & Myers 3D Engineering LLP
Principal Contractor – J Rainey & Sons Ltd