History / History of the House / 1945 to 1949 - William Martin Murphy

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See also: The Martin-Murphy years | Timeline related to the William Martin Murphy years

Earlscliffe Residents 1945 to 1949

William Martin Murphy

In 1945 Earlscliffe was purchased by William and Norah Martin Murphy. [1]

Grandfather, William Martin Murphy in 1911
Grandfather, William Martin Murphy in 1911, four years before his grandson was born.

William Martin Murphy was born in 1915 and was named after his grandfather William Martin Murphy. The grandfather, born in Castletownbere, Co. Cork in 1844 had been the Chairman of the Dublin Tram and Railway Company and also one-time owner of Clery's on O'Connell Street and the Imperial Hotel. He also controlled the Irish Independent, Evening Herald and Irish Catholic newspapers. However, it was the grandfather's opposition to the trade unions led by James Larkin and the subsequent Dublin Lockout of 1913 that brought him to many people's attention. [3]

William, the grandson who owned Earlscliffe, was born four years before his grandfather died. He became a Barrister and was also a former director of Independent Newspapers.[4]

However, he had a variety of jobs over the course of his life. In his early days he was a talent scout for Rank Films and later Editor of Irish Bloodstock Magazine and promotion and publicity manager at Coras Tráchtála Teo (Irish Export Board).  [7]

William Martin Murphy married Nora Roantree at St. Michael's Church, Dun Laoghaire on the 22nd Sept 1936.

In 1945 William and his wife Norah moved into Earlscliffe with their son, Chris and daughter, Jane, and very soon had a second daughter, Louise.[5] They were good friends with Dr. Robert Rowan Woods (who would subsequently buy Earlscliffe in 1952). [4]

Whilst living at Earlscliffe he became an Orchardist, spending a lot of time and energy in tending the many fruit trees in the gardens. His son, Chris, remembers him spraying the trees with a copper and brass back pack with a foot pump for pressure that caused him much wonder. He also kept beehives in the apple and pear orchard and Chris remembers watching him (from a fair distance) remove the honeycombs, again with wonder. Murphy also grew Gladioli that Chris seems to recall winning first prize at the Dublin Flower Show one year!

According to Chris and Louise, the whole family thoroughly enjoyed their time at Earlscliffe, but sadly they could only stay a few years.

Some memories of the Martin Murphy's time at Earlscliffe can be found here.

William and Norah sold the house at auction in March 1949 to Lily Margaret Graham Gough. [6]

In 1957 William Martin Murphy moved to London and became the Advertising Manager of The Daily Mirror in London. Subsequently he was also Advertising Manager of Radio Luxembourg. [2]. Some time after he was Media Director of Dorlands and Erwin Wasey advertising agency.

William Martin Murphy died on the 12th July 1981. [8]

Scrollable timeline and other related events

The first link below displays a scrollable timeline related to the William Martin Murphy, showing births, marriages, deaths and major events in their lives and in their home and working environments.

The other link shows further information about the William Martin Murphy years at Earlscliffe.

• The Martin-Murphy years •
• Timeline related to the William Martin Murphy 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  .


  • [1] Title deeds and other legal documents that are currently in the possession of Karen Foley
  • [2] Irish Times, March 12 1959 pg12
  • [3] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Martin_Murphy
  • [4] As told by William's son, Chris Martin Murphy, in an email to David Foley, July 3rd 2008. Chris now lives in Australia and is the Managing Director and Principal for Interface and Research and Strategy.
  • [5] As told by William's daughter, Louise Martin Murphy, in an email to David Foley, June 23rd 2008. Louise now lives in Ottawa, Canada
  • [6] Irish Times, March 16 1949 pg 4, plus copy of deeds currently in the possession of Karen Foley
  • [7] As told by William's son, Chris Martin Murphy, in an email to David Foley, Oct 27th 2015.
  • [8] Irish Times, July 13, 1981 pg 14

This page was last updated on 06-Dec-2020 .