Edward Synge


Bishop Synge was a member of a formidable clerical dynasty dominating social and ecclesiastical life in Ireland for several generations. Born in Cork in 1691 of a family that included an archbishop and four bishops, Synge was Chancellor of St Patrick’s Cathedral from 1726-30, Bishop of Clonfert and then Cloyne 1731, Ferns in 1733, and Elphin in 1740. During the summer he lived at Elphin, Co. Roscommon, and during the parliamentary winter term at his large house in Kevin Street, Dublin. He had six children by Jane Curtis, of whom only one, Alicia, survived, before he was widowed. A busy public figure in Dublin, he was Commissioner of the Tillage Act, Governor of the Workhouse, of Dr Steevens’ Hospital and of the Blue Coat Hospital, and Treasurer of Erasmus Smith’s Schools. He attended the first performance of Handel’s Messiah and corresponded with the composer. He died in 1762, and is buried in St Patrick’s Cathedral. These letters to his daughter form his most enduring legacy.