Reputedly a trading vessel, the story of the Ouzel Galley has become mired in folklore and fiction. It was a ship that had supposedly set sail from Dublin before the turn of the 17th century and unexpectedly returned some years later. As the ship was assumed lost, an aggravated and protracted insurance claim was only settled after the intervention of a committee of Dublin merchants. Their arbitration was seen as a success and opportune, and the committee, based on the number and ranks of the Ouzel’s crew, was formalised and continued as The Ouzel Galley Society.
There is no documentary or historical evidence to support this story, until the Society comes into regular mention during the middle of 18th century. Although sometimes called a club, it remained a successful institution of arbitration until the middle of the 19th century.
The Society was instrumental in the establishment of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce in 1783, and although it has long since ceased to arbitrate, it nevertheless survives to this day. Its present purpose is unclear, and has remained a cloaked appendage of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. Based on the original model of ‘ship’s crew’, 40, in number, it consists solely of past presidents.
During the Dublin Chamber of Commerce bicentenary’s celebrations in 1983, a special postage stamp was commissioned with the Society’s prized glass goblet on, and a franking stamp, which included a number of Masonic related symbols. The same symbols also appear on the ‘insignia chain’ presented to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce by William Martin Murphy in 1913. Research into its origins continues.
Our web site is named after the ship and the legend and is dedicated to stories of shipwreck of various kinds, but especially those surrounded by mystery or incidents with historical twists of fate. It is also intended to review many ‘stories’ from the sea that have remained unchallenged.