Statues and Fountains

The Yellow Horse: Statue of George II

Cork Corporation decided to build an equestrian statue in honour of George II in 1760. A Dutchman named Van Nost was commissioned as the sculptor. He supervised the modeling and casting of the statue in a foundry in Kift's Lane. On 7 July 1761 the statue was unveiled. It was situated in the centre of Tuckey's Bridge, which connected Tuckey's Quay, now part of the Grand Parade, and George's Street, which we now know as Oliver Plunkett Street. At that time a channel of the Lee flowed through the centre of the present-day Grand Parade. To most Cork people the statue was known as 'George a-horseback'. After the statue was painted a golden-yellow colour in 1781 the statue became known as the Yellow Horse or, in Irish, An Capall Buí. This is the origin of the Irish name of the street which is Sráid an Chapaill Bhuí, the street of the Yellow Horse. In 1798 the statue was removed from the centre of the Grand Parade and placed at the junction of the South Mall and Grand Parade, where it is shown in the photograph. The physical condition of the statue deteriorated over the years to such an extent that it had to be supported by wooden crutches under the horse and the right arm of George. On 3 March 1862, the figure of George was tumbled from his perch.

Whoever it was that knocked down George's statue remained unknown, despite the offer of a £20 reward from Cork Corporation for information. Cork Corporation removed the entire structure and created a green space where the statue had stood. Local tradition claims that the last person known to have possession of the head of poor George was Mr Morton, a gunsmith in Cork in the late 19th century. The sad fate of the statue of George II calls to mind the old rhyme on the first four kings of England who were named George:

Vile George the First was reckoned
Viler still George the Second
No one ever said or heard
A good word about George the Third
When George the Fourth to Heaven ascended
God be praised, the Georges ended

Dunscombe Testimonial Fountain

The fountain which stood near the foot of Shandon Street was known as the Dunscombe Testimonial Fountain. The Dunscombe family had been associated with Cork since the seventeenth century. The area around the fountain was used by street vendors selling clothes. Holly and ivy was sold there during Christmas.

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