Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Scottish engineer and contractor, active from circa 1780 to circa 1810, for whom see A.W. Skempton et al., A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland I (2002), 460-461. John Murray came to Dublin in June 1804 to act as contractor for building a series of Martello towers on the coast of Dublin Bay. He came on the recommendation of JOHN RENNIE JOHN RENNIE , who seems nevertheless to have had some reservations about him as a man of 'a very accommodating conscience and a D----d hard mouth'. By August 1804 Murray had 180 men employed on four Martello towers at Seapoint, Dun Laoghaire, Glasthule and Sandycove, but by the end of November he had absconded, presumably to Scotland, leaving the work unfinished and debts unpaid. In December he wrote to Rennie to explain his conduct; according to this account, his financial difficulties arose after his supervisor Captain DANIEL CORNEILLE  DANIEL CORNEILLE instructed him to construct the outer walls of the towers in ashlar instead of the cheaper, hammer-dressed masonry specified in the original estimate. The unresolved situation was left in the hands of Murray's son JAMES MURRAY[1] JAMES MURRAY[1] , who was working for the Royal Canal Company, and appears to have been settled in 1806. Although Murray refused on account of 'old age and infirmity' to cross the water to Ireland to settle his affairs himself, he continued in business in Scotland and in February 1807 tendered successfully for the West Dock at Greenock.


All information in this entry is from Arnold Horner, 'John Murray and the building of the Dun Laoghaire Martello towers', Irish Sword 15, No. 98 (Winter, 2005), 427-434.