Thursday 22 February 2018

John (96) had many talents

The late John Murphy
The late John Murphy

John Murphy, Drummond, late of St. Mullins, passed away peacefully in his 97th year, surrounded by his family at his home on August 7th.

John was born in Cummer, near Carnew, on November 1, 1920, on the day that the Carlow patriot Kevin Barry was executed in Mountjoy Jail.

He was the third son of Pat Murphy and his wife Mary, formerly Mary Brennan, of Curraun, Ballywilliam. John had no sisters and was predeceased by his brothers James, Richard, Paddy and Mick.

Templeudigan school, which closed in 1967, was where John got his schooling. He was always proud of the fact that he walked the three miles there and back each day, sometimes even barefoot in summer.

He had a great fondness for his teacher Mrs. Fitzgerald, and one of his jobs when he was older, was to unyoke her pony and trap for the day. This was especially appealing as he got sixpence a week for doing the job.

On Sundays, after dinner, John also attended Sunday school to learn catechism, while pupils who did not attend were punished. He left school at 14 years of age.

As his father had died when he was only 10 years of age he had to work on the family farm on leaving school. After a few years he went to work as a farm labourer in O'Neill's of Ballindoney.

In 1945 he married Mary Ann (Nan) Kavanagh, from Templeudigan, and the young couple set up home in Drummond with John gaining new employment on the farm belonging to Mrs. Mary Griffin of Drummond.

Although this new place of residence brought John to a new county it didn't change his parish address as both Cummer and Drummond are in the parish of St. Mullins.

The couple worked hard together to build up the family home and were blessed with five children. When Mrs. Griffin died in 1953, John had to find a new position which he did with Mr. John Brennan of Drummond.

John's work at both Griffin's and Brennan's consisted of ploughing, tilling, sowing, etc., all of which being very labour intensive and done by hand and horse.

After some time at Brennan's the horse was replaced by the tractor and by then John had done a lot of masonry work on buildings on the Brennan farm, so he decided to go into this work full-time. There is hardly a farm in the area where John did not do some masonry work. For major projects he joined his brother Richard (Buddy) and built a number of new houses and the partnership built the Mart in New Ross.

While enjoying his trade as a builder he continued to have an interest in farming and always kept some animals which included a long spell spent in pig rearing. This interest in farming continued up to his 90's when he would regularly visit the farmyard to check on the progress of crops and animals.

In the early years his mode of transport was the bicycle but following his change of employment it was the tractor. Because of his talent as a tradesman John undertook many jobs improving his home and outbuildings. He gave freely of his time to use this talent in the local community and his work is still to be seen in the development of the grounds and construction of the walls at St. Brendan's Church in Drummond.

As a member of Drummond Hall committee he worked on the conversion of the old school into the present community hall. He was also known as the local cobbler - repairing boots, shoes and sliothars; as the local barber - cutting hair with the old fashioned clippers; repairing bicycles and sharpening saw blades - all of which resulted in many callers to the house.

John was always interested in sport - as a boy he played cricket with his brothers at home and he remembered once getting off Sunday school early to see Ballywilliam play Drummond in a cricket game in Templeudigan. As a pupil in Templeudigan school he also played handball because the alley was situated adjacent to the school and he once represented Templeudigan playing skittles. But his greatest love was for the game of hurling and while he played a little with both Rathnure and Drummond he preferred being a spectator, especially when his beloved Wexford was playing and he made many a journey to Croke Park to support the team. After moving to Drummond and when his son Pat was involved he naturally supported St. Mullins and was seen on many an occasion up to recent times at matches in McGrath Park in Bagenalstown and at Netwatch Cullen Park in Carlow.

Up to his final days he watched sport on television and some of his favourite stars were soccer players Ronaldo and local rugby hero Sean O'Brien. John also loved a game of cards and once won a 'suit of clothes' as a prize in a card game.

Religion was important to John and he and Nan were very proud parents when two of their daughters, Mary and Liz, entered religious life as Sisters of Mercy. As members of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association both wore the pin with pride and as the Association was very active in John's younger days he enjoyed many an excursion with the group and travelled to Knock every year with Nan by his side until her illness and death in 1994.

The loss of his beloved wife at only 66 years of age was a terrible blow to John and was lessened only by his love for and pride in his children and grandchildren. After Nan's death he enjoyed visits to his daughters in Dublin, Tullow, Cork and Myshall, and once travelled to London to visit his son Sean even if he didn't enjoy the plane journey very much.

John's quiet, unassuming life was reflected in the presentation of gifts and Prayers of the Faithful at his requiem Mass in St. Brendan's Church Drummond. It was summed up beautifully by Fr. Aughney P.P., who had known John for quarter of a century. He said John's long life was fulfilled by his faith, family, work and community and that these traits live on in his family. Among the large crowds who attended his wake, removal and funeral were Bishop Denis Nulty, Kildare & Leighlin, Bishop Ray Field, Dublin, Fr. Tom O'Connor, Fr. Willie Purcell, Fr. Richard Redmond, Fr. Odhran Furlong, Fr. Gerry Byrne, Fr. Conn Ó Maoldhomhnaigh, Fr. Brian Broaders, Fr. Sean Maher, Fr. Pierce Murphy, Fr. John McEvoy, Fr. Ciaran Kitching, Rev. Lester Scott, Religious Sisters, public representatives, and people from all walks of life.

John is survived by his sons Pat, Drummond, (Retired Principal Vocational School New Ross); Sean, (owner Quattro Plant Ltd. London); daughters Sr. Mary, R.S.M., Tullow, (Chaplain Carlow College); Sr. Liz, R.S.M., (Secretary General AMRI, Dublin), Brigid Fox, Myshall, (Retired Principal Kilmyshall N.S.); daughter-in-law Úna Murphy, son-in-law P.J. Fox; grandchildren John, Maura and Nóirín Murphy; Padraig, Áine and Maria Fox; grandchildren-in-law Bertie Murphy and Ciara Fox; sisters-in-law Mrs. Brigid Ryan, Turra and Mrs. Kathleen Murphy, Curraun; nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends.

John was interred in St Mullins cemetery.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

New Ross Standard

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