Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Mulhall, Michael George (1836-1900), journalist and statistician, was born on 29 September 1836 at 100 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, the sixth child and third son of Thomas Mulhall (1803-1856), solicitor, and Catherine Flood (1807-1849). His brother Edward Thomas Mulhall (1832-1899) emigrated to the United States in 1852 and then settled in Argentina as a sheep-farmer and became a successful businessman and large landowner. Their younger brother, Francis Healy Mulhall (1845-1898) also emigrated to Argentina and was an editor of the Southern Cross weekly paper. Three sisters, Mary, Ann and Fanny, were Catholic nuns.

Michael George Mulhall was educated to be a Catholic priest at the Irish College in Rome. However, he abandoned the studies and in 1858 went to Buenos Aires to work with his brother Edward Thomas Mulhall. On May 1861 the two brothers launched The Standard, the first daily newspaper in English published in South America (the weekly The British Packet had been published since 1810). The Standard was founded "not as the emblem of a party or the watchword of rivalry, but as the bond of fellowship between the various members of our Anglo-Celtic race […]. We have all come from the British Isles and English, Irish, Scotch, and American acknowledge one mother tongue. Monopoly is unjust and bigotry hateful. To crush one and prevent the other is our object" (first issue of the Standard in: Marshall 1996). Although in fact Irish, "the Mulhall brothers usually referred to themselves as English, championing the interests of the British community, views that were reflected in the paper, and the brothers were often criticised for this stance"' (Marshall 1996). The Standard became the preferred English-language newspaper for thousands of British and Irish settlers and their families abroad, and it only ceased publication in 1959. A series of books accompanied the success of the Standard, particularly the Handbook of the River Plate (six editions 1863-1892) and the Handbook of Brazil (1877), which were widely consulted by prospect emigrants from the British Isles.

On 10 June 1868 Michael George Mulhall married Marion, née McMurrough Murphy (d.1922). Marion Mulhall published From Europe to Paraguay and Matto-Grosso (1877), Ten Years of a Lady's Travels in the Pampas etc. (1881), and Celtic Sources of the Divina Commedia (1908) among others. The Mulhall's only son died in 1886 in Buenos Aires.

In 1878 Michael G. Mulhall returned to Ireland and published several statistical compilations, Progress of the World (1880), Balance Sheet of the World, 1870-1880 (1881), the well-known Dictionary of Statistics (1883, last published in 1970), and History of Prices since 1850 (1885). In 1896 he travelled extensively in Europe collecting material for the committee of the English parliament reporting on a proposed department of agriculture for Ireland. In recognition of his literary work, the Pope appointed him camariere segreto and sent him a papal blessing in articulo mortis. Michael G. Mulhall died at The Peak, Killiney Park, Dublin, on 12 December 1900, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery. Marion Mulhall died on 15 November 1922 in Kent.

Edmundo Murray

Rev. January 2009


- Coghlan, Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), p. 687.

- Howat, Jeremy, British Settlers in Argentina: Studies in 19th Century Emigration (http://w, accessed 18 March 2004.

- Marshall, Oliver, The English-Language Press in Latin America (London: Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, 1996).

- Meehan, Thomas F., Michael George Mulhall (1836-1900) in "The Catholic Enciclopedia", Vol. X.

- Murray, Thomas, The Story of the Irish in Argentina (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1919).



- Lundstrom, engraving, published in the The Illustrated London News 117, N° 3218, p. 929 (Saturday, 22 December
1900). Thanks to Edward Walsh for the exact reference.


Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 April 2004
Edited: 06 January 2010

Murray, Edmundo, 'Mulhall, Michael George
(1836-1900)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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