John Murphy [Fr.]

Life
1753-1798; Irish rebel; DD, Seville; asst. priest [curate] at Boolavogue, 1785; established camp on Vinegar Hill; failed at Arklow; beheaded and burnt in a barrel of pitch; he is the ‘brave Father Murphy’ of the ballad “Boolavogue”. ODNB

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Criticism
J. J. O’Meara, Lecture on Father John Murphy and ’98 (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker [1898]); see also Barry O’Brien, Portraits in Leadership (Fermoy: Éigse na Mainistreach 1980); Nicholas Furlong, Father John Murphy of Boolavogue, 1753-1798 (Geography Publ. 1991) [reviewed in The Irish Times, 7 Dec. 1991; infra]. See also Cheryl Herr, For The Land They Loved (Syracuse Press 1991).

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Commentary
Boolavogue”: ‘God grant you glory, Father Murphy, / and open heaven to all your men; / The cause that called you may call tomorrow / In another fight for the Green again.’ (See Loreto Todd, The Language of Irish Literature, 1989.)

Irish Times, review of Nicholas Furlong, Father John Murphy of Boolavogue (1991): ‘an enigmatic figure [...] loud in his protestation of loyalty ... he turned against [the govt.] almost overnight and emerged as a natural military leader ready to fight to the bitter end. Perhaps he was a secret United Irishman all along. ... The ’98 outbreak ... grew around Fr. Murphy and the UI gravitated towards it in order to control it. Had they chosen Fr. Murphy rather than the aristocratic Bagenal Harvey, things might had taken a different turn.’ [Q. auth.]

 

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