Select Murphy Miscellany


Here are some Murphy stories
accounts over the years:


The Murphys of Leinster

The first of the Murphys of county Wexford in Leinster is
said to have been Murchadha who had come from a sept that had separated
three separate groups – the MacMurroughs (Murphys), the Kavanaghs and
Kinsellas.  Murchadha’s grandson was
Dermot MacMurrough, the man who is believed to have invited the
invasion of 1170.
Subsequently, large
amounts of territory in Wexford were under the control of the Murphys.  Their principal strongholds were at
Morriscastle, Oularteigh, Toberlamina, Oulart and Ballaghkeen.  The final Murphy chief to be designated in
the traditional Gaelic system of tanistry was Murtagh.
He upheld English law in 1461 and this
enabled him to pass on his property and territory to his descendants.
One of
these descendants, Donal Mor O’Morchoe, had his lands seized by the
towards the end of the 16th century.  The last leader of the Murphy clan, Connall
O’Murchoe, died
at Castle Ellis in Ballaghkeen in 1634.  There followed Murphy
confiscations during Cromwell’s time. 
The Murphys of
managed to hold their lands and did so up to recent times.Other Murphys to lose
their title and lands were those of the Tipperary clan who also
suffered at the
hands of Cromwell.  Murphys did hold onto
some lands at Ballymore near Cashel until that land was sold in 1848.

Father John Murphy in 1798

Father Murphy was a parish priest in the small village of
Boolavogue in county Wexford when the 1798 Irish Rebellion erupted.

Originally he was against the revolt
even tried to persuade local people in the area to lay down their arms
and to
align themselves to British rule. However, having witnessed the brutal
of the British forces against the local population, Father Murphy
courage and leadership by gathering “the pikemen” of the area and
them in battle as part of the rebellion.

Victories followed at Oulart Hill and at Enniscorthy, but
then reverses
at Arklow and New Ross weakened his troops.
Following the United Irishmen’s defeat at Vinegar Hill, Father
went on the run before being captured in Carlow. His capture ultimately
culminated in his hanging, his head being impaled on a spike in public
view to
warn all locals against partaking in the rebellion.

A century after his death in
1898, the ballad Boolavogue was
written to pay homage to his heroism



Murphy’s Irish Stout

The Murphy brothers who founded the Murphy Brewery in Cork
in 1856 could trace their ancestry back to Nicholas O’Murphy who had
come to
Cork city from Carrigrohane sometime around 1710.

James J. Murphy drove the business forward
and by the 1880’s Murphy’s Irish Stout was one of the premier beers of
Ireland.  The Malthouse, built in 1889,
became a Cork landmark.  The last direct
descendant of James J. Murphy running the business was Colonel John
who held the reins from 1958 to 1981. Ownership
now resides with the Dutch beer company Heineken.

Local Irish history pits the Guinness
drinkers of Dublin squarely against the Murphy’s drinkers of Cork.
There has
long been a lively rivalry between the two, with Murphy’s viewed as the
“craft” stout, and Guinness being the more mainstream.
The waters of the Lee river in Cork allegedly
gave Murphy’s its quality.


Murphys Inside
Ireland and Outside

the Irish emigration, there
are today more than
four times as many Murphys outside post-partition Ireland than

Murphys Numbers (000’s) Percent
Ireland    75 20
UK   106   28
America   100   27
   93   25
Total   374  100

(1) Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Murphys in England

Murphys in 1881 Numbers ((000’s) Percent
Liverpool and environs 3.5 15
Other Lancashire    3.2    14
London    2.8    12
Glasgow and environs    2.2    10
Elsewhere   11.3    49
Total   23.0   100


Martin Murphy
of Sunnyvale

The Martin Murphy family, founders of the city of
Sunnyvale in California, constructed the Murphy family home there in
1850’s.  Since there were no sawmills
near Sunnyvale at that time, the Murphy family had the home milled to
specifications in Bangor, Maine.  It was
then shipped in pieces around Cape Horn to Sunnyvale where it was later
assembled.   It was the first wood
house in Sunnyvale.

Murphy also brought the railroad to
Sunnyvale and helped to establish the Convent of Notre Dame and Santa
College, the first institution of higher learning in the area.

brothers John and Daniel struck gold in the Sierras, then made a
selling dry goods to local miners and Native Americans.
The town they established in the Sierra
foothills still bears the family name of Murphys.

Martin’s house
in Sunnyvale was said
to have been the site for the largest private party ever held in
California.  It
was held in July 1881 to mark the 50th wedding anniversary of Martin
Murphy and
his wife.  By that time he had become a
huge landowner throughout the state of California.
General invitations were sent out and it is
estimated that over 10,000 people came.  Special trains ran from
San Francisco
and San Jose and the party lasted for three days.

The Murphy home was continuously lived in by the Murphys
until it was
given to the city of Sunnyvale in 1953. 
1958 it was made a California State Historical Landmark.
However, three years later the house had to
be demolished after a fire.  What stands
today, the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum, is a recreation of what once


John Murphy in Argentina

April 13, 1844 John Murphy, aged 22, and his two
cousins left their home in Kilrane on a cart to Wexford town which was
some 20
kilometers away.  From there they
embarked for Liverpool where they invested a small fortune to join 115 other Irish emigrants and buy
tickets to South America on the brig William Peile. Each ticket cost £16 per head, which at
that time could easily amount to more than an entire annual income.

departure inspired a local teacher, Walter MacCormack, to compose the
song The Kilrane Boys, which contained the
following refrain:

“There’s Billy Whitty and his bride, their
names I will first sound,
John Connors and John Murphy from Ballygeary town.
Kavenagh and Tom Saunders, two youths that none can blame,
James Pender, Patrick
Howlin, and four from Ballygillane.

Larry Murphy from Kilrane joined them in
They’re bound for Buenos Aires, the land of liberty.”

Murphy landed with just £1 in his pocket. But he soon found work and
toiled for
eleven years as a sharecropper before he was able to buy land and start
his own
sheep ranching business.  He
prospered. When he died in 1909 at the
age of 87, he left a large family and a substantial fortune



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