PJ is remembered as an entrepreneur with great vision

August 28th, 2020 7:10 AM

By Jackie Keogh

PJ Murphy: a respected business man

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THE observation, ‘how a person does one thing, is how they do everything,’ is true in the case of the late Patrick Joseph Murphy.

At first glance, Pat Joe – or PJ as he was better known – was a successful businessman who ran a thriving construction company in Carrigtwohill.

But that was just one string to his bow. PJ, and his brother Finbarr, bought land from Bantry House estate and built a 60-bedroom hotel, the Westlodge, which opened for business in December 1969.

It was from this vantage point, poised overlooking Bantry Bay, that PJ was able to channel that successful streak in other directions, too.

He showed great vision when, in the late 1970s, the Westlodge became one of the first hotels in the country to construct an indoor heated swimming pool.

It opened up the hotel to the family market and – like a tide that raises all boats – provided a tremendous boost to the local economy.

Encouraged by their success, the brothers acquired more land from the neighbouring estate and developed nine self-catering cottages and developed 25 acres of landscaped gardens.

In the 1980s, 40 more bedrooms were added to the hotel, rounding it out to an even 100. Throughout his life, PJ, who passed away on August 11th, was a keen supporter of the GAA. He showed that support by having the Westlodge sponsor the successful Bantry Blues GAA Club for many many years.

PJ also contributed greatly to the development of Bantry Bay Golf Club. Friends lay claim to PJ, describing him as ‘an entrepreneur, but an entrepreneur with great vision, and a love of nature.’

Diarmaid Murphy – who is the chairman of Bantry Business Association  – was just one of the many locals who honoured the enormous contribution PJ made to the economic, social, and sporting life of Bantry, by joining a guard of honour at Wolfe Tone Square as the funeral cortege passed through on Thursday last.

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