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 modelling and casting of the statue in a foundry in Kift's Lane. On 7 July 1762 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'. On the pedestal an inscription read: 'The citizens of Cork erected this statue to the memory of King George the Second in gratitude for the many blessings they enjoyed during his auspicious reign MDCCLXII.' After the statue was painted a golden-yellow colour in 1781 the statue became known as the Yellow Horse or, to Irish speakers, an Capall Buí. This is the origin of the Irish name of the street, 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 under 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 ignominious 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
Download this image in PDF format from link below:Yellow Equestrian Statue PDF(237KB)
View a drawing of this statue by W.H. Bartlett
History of the Grand Parade.