Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Semple, George

SEMPLE, GEORGE (1700?–1782?), Irish architect, son of a builder's labourer, was born in Dublin about 1700. His earliest known work is the steeple (103 feet in height) of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, which he designed and erected in 1749. He also built St. Patrick's Hospital (1749–57), and several private mansions, including Ramsfort, co. Wexford, which was afterwards destroyed. His best known work was Essex Bridge across the Liffey. This was begun in 1752, and completed in 1754, and was considered one of the best bridges in Ireland. The government awarded him 500l. for his services. Essex Bridge was taken down in 1872, being replaced by the present Grattan Bridge, from Parliament Street to Capel Street. In 1777 Semple was living in Queen Street, Dublin, and died late in 1781 or early in 1782. His immediate descendants were also architects. He published a treatise ‘On Building in Water’ (Dublin, 1776, 4to).

[Gilbert's Hist. of Dublin; Whitelaw and Walsh's Hist. of Dublin; Dublin directories, 1770–82; Pasquin's Artists of Ireland. Redgrave erroneously gives his name as Temple.]

D. J. O'D.