Plans to erect statue of Cobh’s Jack Doyle
Plans are being made to commemorate Cobh’s most famous son by unveiling a statue to the man who was known on both sides of the Atlantic as ‘The Gorgeous Gael’.
Cobh/Glanmire Municipal District Council has decided to erect a statue to the late Jack Doyle in the harbourside town.
Doyle, who was born to a working class family in Cobh in 1913, was a gifted boxer who later went on to become a Hollywood actor and wellknown tenor.
He joined the Irish Guards, based in Wales, where his boxing prowess was honed. He won 28 straight victories, including the British Army Championship, with 27 by knockout.
Before long he had turned professional and at the age of just 19 lost a British Heavyweight decider when beaten by the title-holder, Welshman Jack Petersen.
The fighter’s soft tenor voice was then discovered by Dr Vincent O’Brien, voice coach to Count John McCormack. Sell-out gigs followed at the London Palladium and the Royal in Dublin before he was signed up by the famous record company Decca.
Doyle’s handsome looks also had Hollywood beckoning and he starred in two movies, McGlusky the Sea Rover (1934) and Navy Spy (1937).
His love of the high life, which included serious drinking and gambling, later led to his downfall.
Doyle died penniless in 1978 at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. He would have ended up in a pauper’s grave had it not been for members of the Cork Ex-Boxers’ Association who raised money to bring his body back home and bury him in Cobh’s Old Church Cemetery. There is already a large mural and two plaques in the town dedicated to his memory.
Cllr Diarmaid Ó’Cadhla told a meeting of the municipal district council it was now high time that a statue be erected to Doyle’s memory.
Jack Doyle died penniless in London in 1978.