History / History of the House / 1896 to 1901 - John Randal Plunkett

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See also: Timeline of events relating to the Plunkett years

Earlscliffe residents 1896 to 1901

John Randal Plunkett

John Randal Plunkett, Cecilia Read and probably her mother
John Randal Plunkett, Cecilia Read and probably her mother

In August 1896 the house was purchased by John Randal Plunkett.

Plunkett was a maltster and ran the family malting business, Plunkett Brothers. The malting business had been started by his grandfather, John Plunkett in 1819 and then passed to his son, Randal Plunkett, John Randal's father.

Plunkett Bros Ad
Plunkett Brothers supplied Guinness & Co. with their malt

They supplied Guinness & Co. with their malt (see Plunkett Brothers advertisement on right), with written recommendation from Arthur Guinness, Sons & Co. [1]

In a book describing the Industries of Dublin, written in 1887, an article on the Plunkett Brothers, Maltsters and Patent Malt Roasters described their unique malt roasting process and stated that his grandfather had, in fact, invented the process of roasting malt. [2]

John Randal Plunkett's main residence was at 83 Merrion Square South.  [3] In the early days, Plunkett Brothers had their premises at Belview, a street off James' Street, as well as other storehouses around the city. But around 1895, about the same time he bought Earlscliffe (probably as a summer residence), Plunkett acquired new premises for the company in Islandbridge, called Bellevue Maltings.

Bellevue, Islandbridge stayed in the family, firstly as a business premises but later also as a residence, until the company was wound up around the 1970's. It is now an apartment complex called Belle View Maltings.

John Randal Plunkett was married to Cecilia Read from Kensington, London.

Cecilia came from a well known family of surgeons. Her mother was also called Cecilia Mary Read (nee Landon) and her father was a surgeon called Thomas Laurence Read. 

According to Cecilia's father's obituary, his father was a friend of Dickens and Thackeray!

RMS Leinster
RMS Leinster in 1897. The ship was was torpedoed by the Germans in 1918 with their daughter Sheelagh (Sheila Isabel Mary) on board. Postcard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

John Randal and Cecilia had eight children, three of whom died at a young age, including their daughter Sheelagh (Sheila Isabel Mary) who was drowned at the age of 21 when the SS Leinster was torpedoed by the Germans in 1918.  [5]

The Plunkett family were related to St. Oliver Plunkett through his niece, Ismay. [4]

The Plunketts did not stay in Earlscliffe too long as the house was put up for rent in June 1901 [6] and in October 1901 Earlscliffe was sold to Professor John Pentland Mahaffy, soon to be Provost of Trinity College Dublin (but not as soon as he would like!).[7] 

John Randal died 14th April 1915, three years before his daughter drowned on the SS Leinster. [8]

1901 Census

As Earlscliffe was primarily used as a summer residence, at the time of the 1901 census (31st March 1901), Earlscliffe itself was unoccupied. However, the property was being managed over winter by the residents in the Gardener's cottage at Earlscliffe. These were Hugh Lynch and his wife Anne. Hugh was the gardener/caretaker and, according to the census, he was 80 years old at that time. His wife, Anne, was 68. Hugh was originally from Co. Meath and Anne was from Wicklow.

In the 1901 census, Earlscliffe was the first house listed on the form for Censure, with the Gardener's cottage as the second house listed. Both are said to be owned by R J Plunkett. [9]

Scrollable timeline covering related events

The following link displays a scrollable timeline related to John Randal Plunkett, showing births, marriages, deaths and major events in their lives and in their home and working environments.

• Timeline of events relating to the Plunkett years • 

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List of Earlscliffe Residents

1844 to 1896 - Bunbury McClintock et al
1896 to 1901 - John Randal Plunkett
1901 to 1922 - John Pentland Mahaffy
1922 to 1930 - CT Ovenden to Dr Webb
1930 to 1945 - Sir John Lumsden
1945 to 1949 - William Martin Murphy
1949 to 1950 - Lily Margaret Graham Gough
1950 to 1969 - Stanley-Clarke to Knowles
1969 to today - David & Muriel Robinson & Foley family
Timeline of Residents in History 

Disclaimer. Parts of the data found in these history pages has been derived from sources currently available on the internet. In researching the previous owners of Earlscliffe, certain assumptions have been made as to the validity of this internet data. If you believe that some of this data is inaccurate, please contact  .


This page was last updated on 20-Dec-2020 .