Oliver St. John Gogarty

Gogarty was born August 17 1878, the oldest of four sons, to surgeon Henry and daughter of a Galway miller Margaret. He was educated at the Christian Brothers’ O’Connell School and, after his father died, Mungret College, a boarding school near Limerick that he hated. He eventually went on to study medicine at Trinity College Dublin, where he proved himself academically and athletically, earning a bronze metal in swimming and becoming a noteworthy cyclist.

He on the vice-chancellor’s prize for English poetry in 1902, 1903, and 1905. In 1904, he went to Worcester College and came in second for the Newdigate prize for poetry to G.K.A. Bell, who would later become the anglican bishop of Chinchester as well as a close friend to Gogarty. Gogarty continued his study at the Allgemeines Krankenhaus, Vienna, and qualified as an ear, nose, and throat surgeon.

In 1901, Gogarty met James Joyce and they shared a brief friendship. Joyce came to view Gogarty as a conformist, as Gogarty expressed differing views to his friends and in public, for both professional reasons and due to his cultural elitism. Joyce eventually believed Gogarty was conspiring against him, and Gogarty, in turn, cam to view Joyce as paranoid. Joyce portrays a hostile Gogarty figure in Ulysses called Malachi Mulligan.

In 1907, Gogarty graduated MB and MD. He was appointed to the Richmond Hospital, Dublin. He married Martha Duane in 1906 and they had three children.

Gogarty expressed sympathies for Sinn Fein, writing three satirical plays for the Abbey Theatre. He even took the Sinn Fein Headquarters’ files into his house in 1919, when the party was banned, and sheltered members who were on the run.

Between 1922 and 1936, Gogarty was an active member of the Free State senate. He was kidnapped by republicans in 1923, but escaped by leaping into the Liffey. He showed his gratitude ceremonially by introducing two swans to the Liffey.

Gogarty met W.B. Yeats in 1902 and developed a friendship oer time. In 1920, Gogarty removed Yeats’ tonsils and Yeats and Georgie honeymooned at Renvyle, Gogarty’s estate. The two poets influenced each others’ works. Yeats particularly respected Gogarty for his skill as a conversationalist, as he was among few individuals prepared to stand up to Yeats and even mock him teasingly.

Renvyle House in Connemara, which Gogarty had bought in 1917, was burned by the IRA in 1923 as part of a campaign. In 1930, he reopened the Rynvyle House as a hotel, but the depression and his inexperience made it unprofitable.

Gogarty successfully sued Kavanagh for libel in 1939. Gogarty was awarded 100 Euros and Kavanagh’s career was damaged.

Gogarty died on September 22, 1957.

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