Murphys of Mullaghbawn

Michael Murphy left Mullaghbawn in South Armagh for Liverpool at the start of the 20th century. It was here he married Mary Pender. This is the story of their nine daughters and one son, their children and grandchildren. "Cead Mille Failte"

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Penders & Murphys: Research by Duncan Ashcroft

The Penders and the Murphys are shown in a book given away by The Rotunda Centre in Great Mersey Street next to Stanley Road, Kirkdale (Please see the photos at the end of this piece, but I need to explain here for them to make sense). That’s what I discovered last month when me and Susanne wandered into their brilliant heritage centre following our stay at the Throstles Nest on Scotland Road (we stay overnight in Liverpool annually now since our 20th wedding anniversary in 2013. We’ve stayed in the Throstles  couple of time now because we share ancestry from there –Susanne’s family on mothers side ran a pub (now demolished)  right next to the Rotunda centre, the King George – and they have a picture of it in their Heritage café wall! Sue’s Liverpool-Irish great grandmother Mary Ann Kearns (Mary Ann’s parents like our Penders/Learys were from Wexford too) married a Swede Johanne (John) Bladlund who was a publican there shown on 1911 census – he banned his girls, including Sue’s gran Rose, from going into the pub because of the rough sailors – probably included our ship firemen Penders Tom, Patrick, Joseph, John or Robert who were a stone’s throw away!
       I’ve put quite a few photos from our fascinating ramble, which included me tracking down my great grandfather Tom Pender’s original baptism record at St John’s RC church on Fountain Road . I was helped in this by St Anthony’s who said that because Tom was born in Aspinall Street (number 37 - I got his birth record) at that time he would have come under St John’s. Other Pender brothers and sisters were baptised at St Anthony’s, Scotland Road as well as our Our Lady of Reconciliation, Eldon Street and St Alphonsus (now demolished) as they moved between streets from Vauxhall to Kirkdale. Tom’s sister Mary Agnes Pender, who married Michael Murphy was baptised in St Alphonsus on 11 November 1881, 5 days after being born, and married Co Armagh born Michael at that church too on 11 June 1903. Then the church stood at the end of Great Mersey Street where it met Kirkdale Road at the bottom of Everton Valley. Brother Robert, who married south Armagh born Kate Murphy (Michael’s younger sister) also got baptised (Sept 1879) and married (Jan 1912) in St Alphonsus.
     You’ll see from the book from the Rotunda Centre that Michael Murphy is at number 26 Aspinall St and Joseph Pender (Tom’s youngest brother) at number 44. Sadly the graphic is for 1929 and Mary Agnes Murphy (nee Pender) is no longer in the number 26 household because she died 5 years earlier, neither are her parents (and my Tom’s, Robert, Joseph etc) because Tom and Johanna (nee Leary) from Wexford passed away just later in 1926/7 after having lived in 65 Aspinall Street for over 20 years, and in Liverpool’s Vauxhall and Kirkdale district for over 60 after emigrating from Ireland.
        My gran, Maggie Ashcroft (nee Margaret Pender), was born 1907 in Athol Street which runs to the Junction of the top of Scotland Road and Stanley Road. On her mother’s side, the similar sounding surnamed Pedders, - 4th generation barge people -  occupied a site in nearby Slade Street by the canal.  Maggie used to love going every weekend from her St Helens home to the Cazneau Street/Paddy’s Market with her daughter, my Auntie Sue (and I had to suffer wearing some of the strange purchases!) Funnily enough on my mothers side of farmers they also loved to visit Cazzy market, but with their cart horses laden with spuds, after  working the Bickerstaffe, Kirkby, Knowsley, Rainford, Eccleston and Huyton fields up to WW2. And they loved the drinking en-route back too, falling asleep sometimes in a warm pile of manure picked up for the return journey while the horse knew the way home!

       Please take a look at all the pic and census/birth records showing the strong connection of the Pender and Murphy families on those Kirkdale Streets now under the green grass of the Billy Collins playing fields. The Rotunda centre and its heritage café and friendly staff (Emma Jensen and Anne Marie) is well worth a visit and has a great community spirit and superb garden and allotment too. Some of us are planning to meet there when Marie (of the Cannons) and her daughter Catherine Morris come over from Ireland this month. Des and Su Herlihy and Irene and Robbie Cannon could make it too, and maybe Cormac and Kitty - so if you’re interested please let us know – it’ll be sometime in the week beginning 22nd, Monday to Friday in the daytime. 

Thanks Duncan!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dublin Half Marathon for Kidney Research UK

Sebastian Murphy, son of Danny & Pat Murphy is running the Dublin Half-Marathon on 7th August 2016 in aid of Kidney Research UK. If you'd like to sponsor Seb, please visit his fund-raising page at: and he'd like to thank everyone in advance. Good Luck Sebastian!

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Eternal Father" - A Tribute to our own Great Uncle James Murphy

This wonderful message was sent by Jim Herlihy.
"We sing this hymn at St. Teresa's - (Hitchcock's Church in The Birds). The Church is a few miles from the Pacific and boating fatalities are all too frequent.
It is the Naval Hymn and played when a sailor dies or someone is lost at sea - and is a fitting tribute to our Great Uncle James (Da´s brother) who was lost on the Carpathia after it was torpedoed.

It was also Franlin D. Roosevelt's favorite hymn and played at JFK's funeral."


Sunday, June 05, 2016

Aunty Kitty & Daughter Rita Duffy

Two Lovely photos of Aunty Kitty Duffy (née Murphy) and daughter Rita. In the first picture, they are seen standing at the grave of Kitty's parents,  Michal and Mary Murphy (née Pender) in Ford Cemetery, Liverpool. This would have been taken early 1960's. The other taken in the late 70's.

Cousin Jim Herlihy sent these over from the US and were part of his family archive. Thanks Jim!

Saturday, May 07, 2016

The Murphy Family Reuinion is Almost Here!

Here's a message from Catherine ... it's still not too late to attend! Come on now!

Dear All,

It's just under 4 weeks to the Murphy Family Reunion and Mullaghbawn is gearing up for the influx and a weekend of craic agus ceol!  This is a great opportunity to connect and explore the family history in the homeland of Michael Murphy. 
For those of you staying in the Ti Chulainn Centre there is a communal sitting area with a kitchen where people can socialise, make hot and cold drinks.  There is also a large fridge if anyone needs to bring snacks or children's food.  
Saturday 28th May
The party will officially be kicking off on the Saturday night (28th) at 7.30pm in the Ti Chulainn Centre, Mullaghbawn  Des and Sue will have the photo exhibition displayed and would be delighted if people can bring along any photographs or documents to add to this. 
The night will include traditional music from local musicians, family songs, stories and dancing.  The bar is well stocked with Guinness and we’ll have a children’s menu and a hot/cold food buffet for the adults with food served from 8pm.  If anyone is vegetarian, vegan or has special dietary requirements, please let me know by return email, so that we can accommodate you. 
The bar will close at approx. 2am. For those of you who require taxi’s to get home – we will have taxi’s available from this time (or earlier if required!). 
Sunday 29th May
Unfortunately it has not been possible to have a family mass on the Saturday evening in St. Mary’s Mullaghbawn as the local priest has to cover mass in a number of neighbouring parishes. Holy mass is celebrated in St. Mary’s each Sunday morning at 10.30am. 
Sunday lunch will be served in Ti Chulainn from 1.30pm. 
Areas of Interest
The Mullaghbawn that Michael Murphy grew up in (born in 1881) and that which his children/grandchildren knew has changed irrevocably.  Located close to the border with the Republic of Ireland, this is a rural part of Northern Ireland that was blighted with the violence of the troubles and which impacted on the local economy.  Today, what endures is the history and beauty of the local landscape and the mysterious Slieve Gullion steeped in mythology.  South Armagh is also undergoing somewhat of a transformation and is growing in popularity as a tourist destination for historical, archaeological and outdoor enthusiasts, with the Ring of Gullion designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty due to its unique geological landform.  I’ve included some areas of interest (with links) in the vicinity of Mullaghbawn.
Ring of Gullion
  • Slieve Gullion Forest Park (walking trails and scenic drive)
  • Guided Tours (Historical, Scenic, Cultural and Political) of the Ring of Gullion
  • Driving/Audio Guides
  • Walking Routes of the Ring of Gullion
  • Slieve Gullion Adventure Playpark
  • The Giant’s Lair - Children’s Story Trail
Pony Trekking: Greenvale Equestrian Centre, Forkhill /Telephone: 02830 888314
Golf: Cloverhill Golf Club, Mullahgbawn – 
GAA Football: if you want to see some ‘real’ football check out the fixtures for Armagh GAA and the local clubMullaghbawn Cúchulainns

Other areas of interest in the wider Co Armagh include:

Our Connection with Mullaghbawn

In hosting the reunion in Mullaghbawn it would be remiss of me not to mention Michael Murphy (fondly known as 'Da') and I’ve collated a mini biography (see attached) with help from my mum.  

Any Questions?
Safe travels to you all. If you have any questions in the meantime please email:
Emergency telephone numbers during the weekend (from the Friday) are: Catherine Morris (00353 860509449) and Sue Herlihy (07768330504).

With best wishes,

Here's the history:
Michael Edward Murphy was born in 1881 in the townland of Carrickaldreen in Mullaghbawn, Co. Armagh. Mullaghbawn, a small rural community near Slieve Gullion, is situated in a valley surrounded by the hills of the Ring of Gullion.
Michael’s parents were James and Susan. His siblings were: James (who died on board the RMS Carpathia in 1918 WW1); Frank (food distributor for the IRA in various locations, later ran a pub in the Scotland Road area/Liverpool in the 1920’s and then lived in New York before returning to Dundalk in the 1950’s – now buried in Mullaghbawn); Catherine/Kate (who married Robert Pender a seafarer and died in an accident in New York) and Rose. There was also a network of extended family/relatives in the local area.
As well as going to the local school, from a young age Michael was ‘hired out’ to local farmers to work the land, which was common in rural areas. He reported of sleeping in barns and not having enough to eat.
At the age of about 14/15, Michael moved close to Altrincham in England and worked manually on the land. In subsequent years, he moved to Liverpool and worked as a seafarer on ships that transported troops to the Boer war 1899/1902. During this time he lodged in a house in Rockingham Street, Liverpool 5 (which was next to Aspinall Street).
Michael married Mary Pender (also born in 1881) from Liverpool. Mary was an only daughter and her parents originally hailed from the New Ross area, Co. Wexford. Prior to her marriage, Mary worked in a factory that manufactured cigarettes, which was situated between London Road and Skelhorne Street, Liverpool.
Michael & Mary lived in 26 Aspinall Street, Kirkdale and raised a family of 9 daughters (Susan, Molly, Johanna, Kitty, Rose, Agnes, Lily, Sadie, Ann, Joan (who died in infancy) and one son (Michael). After a series of jobs, Michael opened a greengrocers in Blackstone Street, which was close to the docks and in the Holy Cross parish. Michael had a pony (Dolly) & trap and sold fruit and vegetables to a wide area. Mary also helped out in the shop. During World War One, Michael served as a special constable in the Stanley Park area.
In 1924, Mary, at the age of 42, tragically died of TB at home - she had previously spent time in a sanatorium, where Broadgreen Hospital is now situated. Michael was left to raise his family alone. Michael’s entrepreneurial spirit carried on and he established a business as a General Dealer – his business card read “Michael Edward Murphy & Son, General Dealer.” The business (fondly known as ‘Da’s yard’) was situated on Vauxhall Road and contained a huge array of machinery, tools and steel drums. His headquarters was an old fashioned comfortable caravan.
Michael was a handsome man who dressed smartly and always wore a silk paisley scarf around his neck. He took great pride in his moustache and would tell his curious grandchildren that the sparrows liked to perch in the waxed ends. He enjoyed playing the melodeon to entertain his family. Michael was also a man of great faith and attended daily mass at 8am in St Alphonsus Church, Kirkdale and prayed in the parlour of Aspinall Street before going to work. He was generous to the Church and the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool, which was still in its planning stage.
Michael renewed his connection with Mullaghbawn in the 1920s/30s, returning to his homeland every Easter and summer. He bought land and a cottage ‘Shanroe’ and his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren enjoyed many holidays there until the 1960s. Michael donated 2 stained glass windows to St Mary's church, Mullaghbawn in memory of his wife and parents. In addition, he donated a life size statue of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (the Little Flower) to whom he had a special devotion - this statue has since been removed when the church was modernised (post Michael’s death).
In the summer of 1951 Michael did not travel to Mullaghbawn as his health began to deteriorate. He told Auntie Sadie (who he shared a home with) that Mary (his wife) had waited long enough for him to join her. Michael died in September 1954 exactly 30years to the day on the anniversary of Mary’s death.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Nick and Libby's new baby Christened in York

 Nick(son of Patrick) & Libby's new baby was Christened Beau Anastasio James Ridley Murphy. The godparents were: Alison Ridley, Joseph Murphy and Patrick Murphy. He was Christened in St Andrews Church, Bishopthorpe, York, and the reception was at The Grange Hotel, York. This was last November. Congratulations to all the family!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Two Murphy Sisters on enjoying their Holiday 1973

A picture of Laura (left) and Rita Murphy enjoying a glass of wine in Marbella 1973.