Denis Murphy [S.J.]

Life
1833-1896; b. Newmarket, Co. Cork; became a Jesuit novice before 16; ed. Royal University of Ireland [RUI], LLD; edited the Kildare Archaeological Journal; issued Cromwell in Ireland (1883); trans. Life of Hugh O’Donnell (1893), from the Irish of Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh; issued A Short History of Ireland (1894); ed. Annals of Clonmacnoise (1896); also a History Holy Cross Abbey [q.d.] and was writing also History of the Irish Martyrs at the time of his death; fellow of RSAI and Vice-President RIA; d. 18 May. JMC


Works
Trans., Cromwell in Ireland: A History of Cromwell’s Irish Campaign (Dublin: Gill & Son 1883), xxviii, 498pp., maps, plans, & ills. [infra]; The Life of Hugh Roe O’Donnell, with historical introduction (1893); Denis Murphy, LLD, MRIA, A Short History of Ireland for Schools [School and College Ser., gen. ed. Rev. T. A. Finley, MA FRUI] (Dublin: Fallon & Co. [1894]) [infra]; Historical Notions of Old Belfast [being] O’Mellan’ Narrative of the War of 1641 [collated with Eugene O’Curry’s transcript in RIA] (1896); ed., The Annals of Clonmacnoise (Kilkenny Archaelogical Society 1896);

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Quotations
Cromwell in Ireland
(1883): ‘Mr Froude has been unlucky that he did not fall in with this detailed account of “one who himself engaged in the storm”. It proves his assertion to be wholly false, that there is no evidence from an eye-witness that women and children were killed otherwise than accidentally.’ Murphy goes on to quote from Wood remarks of Cromwell [in another text], on the massacre of 2,000 soldiers pursued from Drogheda, and further, the events of the ‘great church called St Peter’s, ‘in [which] very place near 1,000 of them were put to the sword, fleeing thither for safety’. Cromwell is further quotes as saying, ‘I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgement of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood, and that it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future, which are the satisfactory grounds of such actions, which otherwise cannot but work remorse and regret. The officers and soldiers of this garrison were the flower of their army. And their great expectation was, that our attempting this place would put fair to ruin us, they being confident of the resolution of their men and the advantage of the place [Gives details of the attack] And now give me leave to say how it came to pass that this work was wrought. It was set up on some of our hearts that a great thing should be done, not by power or might, but by the spirit of God. And is it not so, clearly? That which caused your men to storm so courageously, it was the spirit of God, who gave your men courage and took it away again; and gave the enemy courage and took it away again; and gave your men courage again, and therewith this happy success. And therefore it is good that God alone have all the glory’ [writes Cromwell]. Further from Cromwell, to President of Council of State: ’I believe all their friars were knocked promiscuously on the head but two, the one was Father Peter Taaffe, brother of Lord Taaffe, whom the soldiers took the next day and made an end of. The other was taken in the round tower, under the repute of a lieutenant; and when he understood that the officers in that tower had no quarter, he confessed he was a friar, but that did not saved him.’ Murphy also cites a MS by a Jesuit father, citing the fates of John Bathe, friar, with his brother, a secular priest; Frat. Robert Netterville, SJ; Dominick Dillon, Dominican prior of convent at Urlar, and chaplain of confederate army appointed by Rinuccini. Clarendon [Hyde] writes, ‘During all that time, the whole armed executed in all manner of cruelty, and put every man that belonged to the garrison and all the citizens who were Irish, man and woman, and child, to the sword.’ Ormonde wrote, ‘this occasion Cromwell exceeded himself and any thing he had ever heard of in breach of faith and bloody inhumanity; and that the cruelties exercised there for five days after the town was taken, would make as many several pictures of humanity as are to be related in The Book of Martyrs or in The Relation of Amboyne’ [presumably cited in Clarendon]; Ludlow called it ‘extraordinary severity’; Tyrconnell recorded having seen a newly made mother lying dead, with the infant trying to feed from her breast.’ (Irish Literature, 1904, Vol. VII, pp.2567-73.)

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A Short History of Ireland for Schools ([1894]), Preface: ‘The growing interest in all that concerns Ireland allows us to hope that the study of Irish history will soon become general in our schools. There is no reason why we should not, like every other civilised nation, make the study of our own history a part of all our courses and education. There is little in it of which we need be ashamed, and there is much of which we may well be proud. / I have endeavoured to give in this little book all the leading facts of Irish history, without note or comment, in a manner which I trust may interest young readers. When they are fit for “stronger food”, they will find it elsewhere.' [15th Aug. 1894]. On the Divisions of Ireland: ‘In the earliest times the island was divided into five provinces, named Leinster, Ulster, Connaught, and the two Munsters, .e., Desmond or South Munster, and Thomond or North Munster. But their boundaries differed a good deal from those of the provinces now bearing those names. They met at the hill of Usneagh in Westmeath, which was supposed to be the central point of Ireland. Ster is a Danish suffix added to the Irish names of Laighen, Mumha, and Uladh. In the first century of our era a portion was cut off from each of the provinces to form the province of Meath; the revenues of it were employed to support the ardrigh, or supreme king, who lived at Tara.' [1] [A] Goes on to list the Partholan, the Nemedians, The Firbolgs [‘the were called Firbolgs, i.e., men of the bags, because in Greece they were forced to carry the clay in wallets from the plains to fertilise the rocky hills' [cf., Joyce's ‘mouldy Firbolgs]; The Tuatha de Danaan. See also under Robert Emmet [supra].

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References
Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904) selects ‘The Massacre at Drogheda’ from Cromwell in Ireland [1883], citing the destruction of 3,000 (‘totally destroyed and massacred’), sacrificed by Cromwell to ‘the ghosts of the English whom they had massacred’]. Murphy quotes extensively from Thomas à Wood (called here elder brother of Anthony), who participated. [See further in Quotations, infra.]

British Library holds Denis Murphy, ed., The Annals of Clonmacnoise (Annuary of Kilkenny Archael. Soc. 1896) extra Vol. [1893-95]; Rev. D. Murphy, ed., Brother John of Waterford [called in religion], Triumphalia Chronologica monasterii sanctae Crucis in Hibernia, ed, with trans. notes and ills.; trans. The Life of Hugh Roe [sic] O’Donnell, with historical introduction (1893), 4o; with others, Yayin, or the Bible Wine Questions, Testimony ... by Profs. Wells, Wallace, Murphy (1875), 8o; Historical Notions of Old Belfast, [?being] O’Mellan’ Narrative of the War of 1641 [the Irish words collated with O’Curry’s transcript in R[I]A by D. Murphy (1896), 4o; Cromwell in Ireland: A History of Cromwell’s Irish Campaign ... with map, plans, and ills. (Dublin: Gill & Son 1883), xxviii, 498pp.; A Short History of Ireland for Schools [ed. TA Finlay, School and College series] (1894) 8o.

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