Parish Of Birth
Details Of Ordination
Retired ex Ss. Peter & Paul’s : 10/1874
Ss. Peter & Paul’s Adm : 1848 – 1874
Schull CC : 1848 – 1848
Chaplain, Presentation Convent, Bandon : 1847 – 1848
Ministry Abroad/ Liverpool : 1844 – 1847
Appointed Archdeacon of the Diocese in July 1974.
The life of Archdeacon John James Murphy was a strange and eventful one. He was born in 1796, and he inherited from his father, James Murphy, of Ringmahon (Cork), a love for commercial pursuits coupled with a spirit of adventure. While still a boy, he took service in the Hudson Bay Company, and lived for 12 years with a tribe of Canadian Indians who gave him the title of “Black Eagle of the North”. In 1825 he returned to Liverpool, and he entered on a commercial pursuit with his brother. In 1840, he abandoned business in order to to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On his way to Jerusalem, he visited Rome, and was introduced to the President of the English College. That was to be the turning point in his life. He gave up his intended pilgrmage, and began his theological studies.
On the 2nd. March 1844, he was ordained to the priesthood, having in his possession on the day of his ordination, the sum of £40,000. He at once returned to Liverpool, and was inducted as priest-in-charge to the newly-formed parish of St. Joseph’s in the Irish quarter of the city. The famine in Ireland had already caused many of the Irish to seek refuge in Liverpool, where famine fever raged among the Irish residents. With his own money Fr. Murphy purchased a Methodist Chapel in the district, which he converted into a Catholic Church. For three years he ministered to the spiritual and physical needs of his fellow Irish men and women.
In 1847, his uncle, Bishop Murphy, of Cork died, and was succeeded by Bishop Delany, who recalled Fr. Murphy back to Cork and appointed him as chaplain to the Presentation Sisters in Bandon. That same year, at his own request, he was transferred to Goleen (Schull). Again out of his own resources he provided food for the victims of the Famine.
In 1848 he was recalled to Cork City and appointed administrator of Ss. Peter & Paul’s. His first duties as administrator was the provision of a larger church to replace the inadequate Carey’s Lane Church. He contributed largely out of his own funds to build the church (present day Ss. Peter and Paul’s Church – 1866).
In addition to this, he founded the Mercy Hospital in 1867, which had formally been the Mansion House, but was then used as the Diocesan Seminary – administered by the Vincentian Fathers. On its being turned into a hospital, the Vincentian Order founded a new home in St. Patrick’s Place, which became known as St. Finbarr’s Seminary.
Fr. Murphy also built the Chapel and residence at the North Infirmary Hospital for the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
For a fuller treatise of the life and times of Archdeacon Murphy, we would refer to the following:
(a) A History of the Diocese of Cork – the Episcopate of William Delany 1847 – 1886,by Evelyn Bolster, p. 34, 144, 228 – 232.
(b) Famine in West Cork – The Mizen Peninsula – Land and People 1800 – 1852, by Patrick Hickey. p. 241, 243, 247, 256, 354.
(c) The Murphy Story: the history of Lady’s Well Brewery, Cork, by Diarmuid O’Drisceoil & Donal O’Drisceoil; p. 15-16.
(d) Fr John Murphy – Famine priest, by A.J. O’Reilly (1962).
(e) The Fold (Cork Diocesan Magazine) May 1966, p. 19ff.
(f) The Fold, May 1966, p 19ff.
Date Of Death
Place Of Death
St. Vincent’s Presbytery, Sunday’s Well Rd., Cork
Place Of Burial
Carrigrohane Cemetery, Carrigrohane, Co. Cork
His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Delany, Bishop of Cork, was the celebrant of the Solemn Requiem Mass; deacon was, Fr. Michael O’Flynn, C.C, Ss. Peter & Paul’s; sub-deacon was, Fr. Andrew Forrest, C.C., Ss. Peter & Paul’s, and master of ceremonies was, Fr. Florence McCarthy, C.C., Ss. Peter & Paul’s.