John Randal Plunkett
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. They supplied Guinness & Co. with their malt (see Plunkett Brothers advertisement on right), with written recommendation from Arthur Guinness, Sons & Co. 
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. 
John Randal Plunkett's main residence was at 83 Merrion Square South.  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 (picture left shows John, Cecilia and probably her mother).
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!
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. 
The Plunkett family were related to St. Oliver Plunkett through his niece, Ismay. 
The Plunketts did not stay in Earlscliffe too long as the house was put up for rent in June 1901  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!).
John Randal died 14th April 1915. 
This page was last updated on 14-Oct-2016 .