17 Merrion Square N, Saint Peter's, Dublin 2, D02 HF54, Ireland
Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
John Joseph Cranny (1845 - July 27, 1904) was a surgeon to the Jervis Street and the Orthopaedic Hospital in Dublin. He lived at 17 Merrion Square North, Trinity, Dublin. Giving testimony in the Cleveland Street scandal, Jack Saul called himself "a professional Mary-ann" – a period euphemism for rentboy, and stated: "I have lost my character and cannot get on otherwise. I occasionally do odd-jobs for different gay people." In 1878, Saul was working as a servant in the Dublin home of wealthy and prominent young doctor John Joseph Cranny. In October that year Saul and a friend, William Clarke, were arrested for burglary and the theft of a coat, walking stick, gloves and a salt-cellar from Cranny's home. The items were not claimed by Cranny and both youths were acquitted. According to his obituary, Dr Cranny was a man who in all his relations was above reproach.
John Joseph Cranny was the son of Patrick Cranny and Maria Keane. Patrick Plunkett and Patrick Cranny from Meath and Carlow respectively, met in Dublin through their wives, who were first cousins, whom they married in the 1840’s. Both of the women had money of their own which enabled their husbands to go into business, first in leather and shoemaking and then in building on the south side of Dublin. This in turn created considerable property-based wealth and when Plunkett’s son and Cranny’s daughter, who were second cousins, married in 1884 that wealth was united and ultimately vested in them and their children. Patrick Cranny was born in Borriss in Carlow in 1820 and he left Borriss, probably in the mid 1830s and went to Tralee to work as a journeyman shoemaker. Tralee had become a thriving town – the elegant Denny Street was completed in 1826 and impressive public buildings such as the courthouse and the Town Hall appeared in the 1830s and 40s. In Tralee Patrick Cranny met and married Maria Keane, a granddaughter of Dan and Abigail O'Sullivan who had twenty-one children and seem to have been prosperous enough because all the children and grandchildren appear to have had money of their own. It is possible that these were the O'Sullivans in the directories who were harness makers and carriage builders. Maria Keane’s father, Black John Keane, was sufficiently well-off to bring Maria and her sister, Sarah and brother, George on an extended holiday to America in the 1830s. Patrick and Maria Cranny came to Dublin in 1842 and, with the benefit of Maria’s money, set up a shoemakers’ shop on Lime St. between what is now Pearse St and the Quays. The following year they moved to 74 George’s St where they set up their business making boots and shoes at a time when there were over five and a half thousand shoemakers in Dublin. They also owned the ground and premises and lived over the shop. Pim’s took over their shop when the Cranny’s moved to Donnybrook but Pim’s paid ground rent to them for many years after. The quality of the workmanship in the shop must have been remarkably good as in a few years they were able to add Bootmakers to the Lord Lieutenant underneath the name.
The Crannys moved to Muckross Park, Marlborough Road, in 1862 and he built three houses beside the gate and then bought up all the land and houses which comprised the site around Muckross, including Sandford Avenue and Garden Cottages. Patrick and Maria’s four surviving children were now able, thanks to their wealth, to enter the professions. The first two did; John Joseph became a doctor, quite an eminent one, Gerald, called an architect but not necessarily qualified, and later a wine merchant but Frank was sent to Australia as a remittance man for embezzling £1,000 from his father and seducing the maid. The Crannys daughter, Josephine Mary, married George Noble Plunkett, Patrick Plunkett’s son, after he had been created a Papal Count in 1884.
Dr Cranny graduated at the University of Dublin in 1869 and began his professional life by acting as Assistant Physician at the Rotunda Lying-in Hospital. Soon after he became Surgeon to Jervis Street Hospital, where he was highly esteemed as a conscientious and painstaking surgeon. He was an Examiner in Midwifery of the College of Surgeons, an Assistant Physician of the Rotunda Hospital, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Medicine, a member of the Britsh Medical Association, of the Royal Dublin Society, and the Royal Irish Academy. For some years he was a member of Council of the Royal College of Surgeons, and on one occasion he offered himself as a candidate for the Vice-Presidency, but he was not successful.
On February 12, 1874, he married Margaret Mary Flannagan, in St Joseph's Church, Terenure, Dublin. In the early 1860s Patrick Cranny was building on the Pembroke Estate, on Elgin Road, Ballsbridge. In Dublin terms these are unusual houses, probably because they were designed by an English architect. Cranny built seven houses here in the prescribed designs; 26, 28, 32, 34, and 36 are three-storey over basement terraced houses and Nos. 38 and 40 are detached houses, two-storey over ground-level of fine proportions. These seven houses were given to Patrick Cranny’s son, John Joseph, as part of his marriage settlement in 1874 but he was already in such debt they had to be mortgaged straight away and those mortgages were not paid off until the 1950’s when the next generation were sorting out the property mess they inherited. No. 42 Elgin Road (not by Cranny) had stood next to the Cranny houses backing on to an equally fine house on Pembroke Road but both were demolished to make way for the building of the US Embassy. No. 18 Elgin Road with drawing-rooms the size of a small ballroom (not by Cranny but similar) was sold in 2008 for 12.5 million.
Gerald Cranny built two houses for himself on Eglinton Road, Donnybrook in 1883 but he gave them to his brother, John Joseph, when he left the country to become a wine merchant. He died in 1892 and left his share of the Cranny houses to his brother who exchanged some with his mother, Maria. This moving around of the property was a regular event but now, with the deaths of Maria in 1900 and of John Joseph Cranny in 1904, the Count and Countess became the owners of all the Cranny property which consisted mainly of 4 houses on Belgrave Road, 35 houses on Marlborough Road, 23 houses on Sandford Avenue off Marlborough Road, 8 on Elgin Road, 4 on Eglinton Road and ground rents in parts of these areas as well as the one on George’s Street.
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