Winter Sun

…floods through a window in St Patrick’s Cathedral, to illuminate one of the statues of the 18th century great and good of Dublin.

And so George Ogle, is memorialised. An Irish Tory politician he was elected to the Irish House of Commons as a member for Wexford County in 1768 sitting for that constituency till 1796. A brilliant speaker, he delighted in ‘splendid superlatives and figurative diction, whilst the spirit and energy of his manner corresponded to the glowing warmth of his expressions’. He joined the Whig party and, although in favour of extending to Ireland popular rights and legislative independence, he was opposed to catholic emancipation, and was a staunch upholder of the established church.

In 1778, he was challenged to a duel by Barney Coyle, a whisky distiller and member of the catholic board. Although eight shots were exchanged, it appears neither were good shots, as the combatants remained unhurt! Ogle later declared his alleged remark “a papist could swallow a false oath as easily as a poached egg” which led to the encounter had been misreported; he had referred to “rebels”, not “papists”.

In 1782, he became a colonel in the Irish Volunteers, actively supported that movement, and strongly asserted the claim of Ireland to legislative independence. When he retired from the House of Commons in 1796, he became governor of Wexford, but consented to re-enter parliament in the disturbed period of 1798, as a member for Dublin City. He voted against the Act of Union in 1800, finally retiring in 1804.

The statue to his memory, by John Smyth, was placed in the cathedral at a cost of £130, almost £10,000 today.

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