Most Rev. John Murphy


Parish Of Birth

Details Of Ordination
Irish College, Lisbon.

Bishop : 1815 – 1847

John Murphy was born on 23 May 1772 and was baptised on 14 June in St Mary’s Cathedral, the Registers of which give his parents’ names as John Murphy and Joan Bouhilly. The Murphy family – John’s parents – are believed to have come from Cloghroe and were staunch Catholics and at the time of his birth were already well-established among the merchant dynasties of the city.
Originally brogue-makers, their house at the corner of Shandon Street and Goulnaspurta, incorporated a thriving brewing industry which in 1854 was transferred to Ladyswell, Blackpool, where a larger Murphy’s Brewery was established.
The rather sanctimonious account of John Murphy’s younger days are recorded by Dean Dominick Murphy who states that ‘while yet in his tender years [he] displayed that pious disposition which, combined with attachment to study, determined his attachment to the clerical state’ does not prepare one for the complex personality which manifested itself in his episcopal years.
He was at once genial and hearty, circumspect and cautious, tough to the point of inflexibility and he took a less prominent part in the political events of his day than did his predecessor. By 1820 he was a landlord, owning 46 of 48 houses in Skey’s Lane; he was a noted bibliophile and he was all heart for the poor.
The Rev. Arthur 0′ Leary of Blackamoor Lane who was a frequent visitor at Goulnaspurra had a significant influence on the young John Murphy whose love for books may well have been fostered by the Capuchin friar.
Then there was the interest shown by Bishop Francis Moylan who in the year of his translation from Kerry to Cork (1787) arranged that the fifteen-year-old John Murphy should study for the priesthood in Paris. Obliged by revolutionary unrest to return home in 1789, John Murphy resumed his clerical studies in 1791 in the Irish College of St Patrick, Lisbon, where Dr Bartholomew Crotty was professor.
Their ensuing friendship rebounded later to their mutual advantage in their bishoprics of Cloyne-Ross and Cork.
John Murphy received minor orders in 1792 and was ordained 26 November 1796 by virtue of special dispensation since he was one year short of the canonical age.
He was consecrated Bishop on 23 Apr 1815.
Responsible for the rebuilding of the Cathedral after it was burned in 1820.
He was also a patron of noted sculptor John Hogan whom he commissioned to contribute tot he then new altar and sanctuary of the Cathedral.

Date Of Death

Place Of Burial
Originally in Cathedral Crypt – transferred to St Finbarr’s Cemetery during the 1960s alterations to the Cathedral.

Associated Links
The Library at Maynooth is the holder of a collection of 120 volumes of Irish manuscripts copied for or collected c.1820 by Dr John Murphy, Bishop of Cork (1771 – 1847) comprising romances, religious and secular poetry, sermons, translations of devotional works, lives of the saints and genealogies.