Most people will know the story of Admiral William Brown. Born in Foxford, County Mayo, he emigrated with his father to North America. Left destitute, aged nine, when his father died, he became a cabin boy on ships.
Captaining his own ship, while still a teenager, he was captured by the British during the Napoleonic Wars. He was then held in custody by the French. Fleeing to The German States, he worked his way back to England. And then on to South America, then under Spanish rule.
There he led the Argentine Navy against the mightier Spanish Imperial Navy. His “navy” made up of many Irish, English and other nationalities. Having won independence for Argentina and indirectly other nations such as Chile, he came out of retirement to lead the Argentinian Navy against the Portuguese-Brazilian fleet, defeating them also.
Brown donated much of his fortune to Irish Famine Relief.
With a memorial (pictured above), a small museum (pictured above) and a memorial hall, he is honoured in Foxford. He is of course a national hero in Argentina.
But perhaps the nicest memorial is the link between the primary(elementary) school in Foxford and an orphanage in Buenos Aires.
Was he related to the footballer called Brown, who played alongside El Diego, in the victorious world cup Argentina team of 1986?
Sounds like a long shot.
But I remember RTE making the connexion that he was of Irish descent and that William Brown was a hero in Argentia.