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, January 27, 2015

Family House Exhanges!

Danny & Pat Murphy's daughter Katie, has come forward offering her house for a house-exchange. If any other family members have similar ideas with regards to house-exhanges, then please send me the details, and I will post them on the blog.
Katie & husband Abraham describe their Spanish property below, together with a few photos - Katie will add to these late. You can contact Katie on her email:

Spacious four bedroom house in the suburbs of Vigo, NorthWest Spain.  Four bedrooms have double beds and one has bunk beds. The house also has three bathrooms, two garden areas and British Satellite TV.  A giant blow up paddling pool is available to set up in the garden.
 The house is in the suburbs of Vigo, a ten minute drive from Samil, the main beach, or the city centre.  Car rental is highly recommended as the bus services aren't great and the house is not centrally located, although it is very accessible by car.   Samil beach has lots of family facilities including free swimming pools and several bars and restaurants along with a long promenade for an evening walk.  Vigo is famous for the Cies islands, beautiful natural islands only a 30 minute boat ride away from Vigo port.  Other nice trips from the port include a visit the other 'ria' to the town of Cangas where there are also many beaches to explore.  More information about Vigo can be found on this website. boat tickets must be booked in advance on the internet in the summer.  Vigo also has its own old town and port, great spots for a glass of wine as you watch the world go by! 

Other great trips include a visit to the famous pilgrimage town of Santiago de Compostela.  Valenca in the North of Portugal is also only 20 minutes away and has a beautiful fort and along with great local shops and restaurants.  

Friday, January 02, 2015

Happy New year from the Celtic Hearts!

John Murphy and co. continue making great music in their band 'Celtic Hearts.'
Details of how to hear the music are:
Link to sound cloud:   then type in "the celtic hearts spread your wings" into the search bar


iTunes link:

For just type in "the celtic hearts spread your wings" in the search bar

I think we're also on Spotify.

We're on the internet radio station:   every Thursday at 5am/11am/5pm and 11pm

Monday, November 24, 2014

Alan Ashcroft: Waterloo, England & British & Irish Lions

The picture below shows Alan Ashcroft in his England RFC jersey. He represented England 8 times, and was also selected for the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia in 1959 as flanker, when they defeated the Wallabies in Brisbane. In the team that day was Irish wingman Tony O'Reilly, who bagged 2 tries in the 17-6 victory.

Historic Pender-Murphy Sporting Connection

This photograph is amazing, both from a sporting context as well as a family one.
Michael Murphy, of the 15 Murphy children, attended St. Mary's Grammar School in Crosby. He captained the school's first XV Rugby tean, then after leaving school played for St. Mary's Old Boys.
His prodigious rugby talents were soon noticed by Waterloo RFC who quickly signed him up, together with Mick's old school-mate, Mick Collins. In the photograph we see Mick Murphy in the back row, and Mick Collins in the front. But also in the front row is A. Ashcroft, an England International, and also a British Lions player.
Alan Ashcroft is the daughter of Maggie Ashcroft (née Pender), who was the daughter of Tom Pender,  the brother of our grandmother, Mary Pender (Da's wife). If you look at an earlier blog posting, sent  in by Duncan, (great grandson of Tom Pender), you'll see a picture of Alan as a young boy, with brothers Wally (Duncan's father) Dougie, and mother Maggie.
A big thank you to Mick Murphy and son Michael, who dug out this treasured photograph from Mick's sporting archives!

Thomas Pender and Family Connections

From Des Herlihy:
I spent a couple of hours today in Liverpool with Duncan Ashcroft and his wife Sue.   Duncan is a Pender and has done a lot of research into the Penders and also the Murphys.  Our grandfather, Michael Murphy, married Mary Pender in Liverpool.  At their wedding, Da's sister, Katherine met one of Mary's brothers, Robert Pender.  They ended up getting married and had two children, Mary and James.  Us Herlihys knew Mary and Jimmy well growing up in New York.  Da's wife, Mary had another brother, Thomas.  His photograph has been in the reunion exhibition and is shown here.  This makes him our great uncle.  He was a merchant seaman for 40 years out of Liverpool.  Our connection to the Penders is therefore a strong one which would explain the regard and fondness our parents had for the Penders.  Older cousins would know Tommy Pender who would have been their age.  Duncan did not know which Pender was his father.  There was a Joseph Pender who was another of Mary's brothers so maybe that is his father.  Robert Pender's death is recorded as a maritime death in 1919 on the vessel Otaki.  His and Kate's children, Mary and Jimmy, were taken by our great grandmother, Susan Murphy, to live in Mullaghbawn while Kate worked on Cunard ships.  They joined her in New York in 1927.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

James Maurice Herlihy - Uncle Jim

Des Herlihy has been adding to his research on his father's brother Jim. I'll let him tell the story.
My Uncle, Jim Herlihy, was my father's brother; he used to visit us when we were kids in New York. Below is a Wikipedia entry I wrote a while ago.
'James Maurice Herlihy was born in Kilkenny, Ireland on 29 January 1914 and died in San Francisco California on 23 October 1962. Jim was the second child of Maurice O'Herlihy and Ellen O'Herlihy (née O'Regan). His siblings were Lil, Patrick, Kathleen and Sheila. The family home was at 28 Wolfe Tone Street, Kilkenny. He went on to have a professional career in England and mostly in Liverpool. He boxed for Ireland in a tournament in Nottingham. Jim kept a record of his career made up of programmes and newspaper clippings. The programmes are very rare. He was a sparring partner of Bruce Woodcock, a British champion. Pete Best, the first drummer of The Beatles, was the grandson of Johnny Best who was a Director of Liverpool Stadium. Johnny Best arranged a fight for Jim at the Tower Blackpool in February 1943. The letter to the promoter in Blackpool is signed by Johnny Best and it is in Jim's scrapbook. Jim's fee for this fight was £20.'
I have his scrapbook in which he meticulously recorded his press cuttings. I have added photos of his trophies: runner up in 1937 as a Middleweight in the Irish National Championships and the winner as a Middleweight in the 1938 Leinster Championships. He also won a trophy for a tournament in Derry in 1938.
You will see a photograph of the Heavyweight Champion of the World, Joe Louis when he visited Liverpool during WW2. On the far right of the photo is Johnny Best, the grandfather of Pete Best, the first drummer of The Beatles. You will also see a letter from Johnny Best arranging a fight for Uncle Jim in Blackpool.
Now a quiz question. Which World Heavyweight Boxing Champion signed a contract for Liverpool FC? Answer: Joe Louis. During his visit to Liverpool a Director of Liverpool FC asked for Joe Louis' autograph. The only paper he had with him was a Liverpool FC contract and that is what Joe signed. This was told to me by a member of the Merseyside ex-Boxers' Association who set the question himself. I have added this last bit to fend off any nonsense from my bluenose cousins and friends!
McCanns and Goodhearts please note the O'Regan link: Margaret Goodheart MuirDeirdre McCann McInerneyMary Kay MulliganEileen McCann Ninivaggi Alice SinatraAnne McCann.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Happy Birthday Laura Gomez Murphy

Mother of 15 Laura Gomez Murphy celebrates her 97th birthday in heaven today.
To mark this day, we publish photographs of the newly inscribed gravestones. (click on picture to enlarge)

Happy Birthday Mum from all your wonderful children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and hundreds of nephews and nieces, friends from all over the world.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Pender Family History

I've been receiving great emails from Duncan Ashcroft, who has being doing an inordinate amount of research on the Pender family. His findings are remarkable, and by publishing the details, photos, addresses, names etc. we hope other members of the family will come forward with more information to fill in the gaps, or even just to support Dunc's finding and maybe add a photo or two.
Please forgive me if I make any mistakes, and I would like family members to come forward and correct me when necessary. I can go back and edit the blog, so no worries there.
If we start on the Murphy, side, we have my granfather, Michael Murphy (Big Da) born in Carrickldrene, Mullaghbawn, County Armagh (I need the date). Now brother and sister of the Murphy's married brother and sister of the Pender's. So Big Da married Mary Pender, and Robert Pender married Catherine Murphy.
Duncan is the Great Grandson of Mary's brother Tom. Tom died aged 85 in 1961. I remember going to the funeral in Manchester/Salford area when I was 10. So dad was 50, and we were accompanied by another Pender relative, possibly a cousin, who lived in Liverpool. I always thought his name was Tom, but maybe I was mixing up the names with old Tom who had just died. We need information on this cousin.
So let's look at the life of Tom Pender through the eyes of his Great-Grandson, and on behalf of all the family, we sincerely thank Duncan for all his time and effort in providing us with this precious insight into our family history. God Bless.

Tom Pender was one of the brothers of the lady whose name graces the top of the Murphy’s of Mullaghbawn website, namely Mary Pender. Tom was my great grandfather and although I never met him, he died in 1961 a couple of years before I was born, my father Wally was about 25 when his grandad passed aged 85 and has strong memories of this ‘character’ a tough but kind and funny seaman fireman stoker who would enter prize fights on shore, have exotic tales and could recite poetry especially when a bit of drink had passed his lips!

All Tom’s other brothers became merchant seafarers operating from the Liverpool docks from the Evelyn and Aspinall Street household, and as this blog has shown, Robert Pender married Catherine Murphy, sister of ‘Big Dah’ Michael Murphy who married Mary – double family weddings!

This Pender family of Liverpool Irish lived with their mother and father who had come over from county Wexford presumably because of the Great Famine. Their mother Johanna O’Leary from Ballycullane married Thomas Pender (senior) from Newbawn in 1865 in Our Lady of Reconciliation which still exists in Eldon Street off Vauxhall Road.

They lived early days in a court house in the next street, Bond St and Johanna gave birth first to a Patrick (named after her husband’s dad) and then to a Thomas and a Mary who subsequently died in infancy. My great grandad Tom as the first boy that followed and Mary as the first girl were named after these children. 

Patrick the eldest entered the merchant navy first, however he contracted scarlet fever while on board and died in the north Liverpool hospital. Tom then became the eldest, followed by John, Mary, Robert and Joseph.  I have a passenger list record of a Joseph J Pender emigrating to New York in 1910. I also have records of a Robert Pender dying in an industrial accident in 1919 on board the Otaki which is recorded as bringing meat from New Zealand. As if there’s not enough tragedy in 1921 John died on the ship ‘Maryland’ docked in Philadelphia due to ‘cyanide gas poisoning during fumigation’. Such a tragedy, and Mary´s brother-in-law, James dying too on the Carpathia from a German U-Boat torpedo. 

Thomas and Johanna from Ireland lived to the ripe old ages of 86 (Thomas) and 81 (Johanna). They died within 7 weeks of each in December 1926 and February ‘27, ending up in Ford Catholic Cemetery on the outskirts of Liverpool. I don’t know as yet if it’s a public grave or a family one, although their grave numbers are the same. We’ll visit soon. 
Tom Pender was a fireman stoker from 1898 until 1940, mostly operating from Liverpool but in his last decade of work from Salford docks. He was regularly working the furnaces to power vessels to Canada, the USA, South America, The Med and even Australia. My dad has given me his seaman’s books and they were mostly stamped from the Liverpool dockside Seaman’s Home that stood off Luton Street in Burton Street near Great Howard Street/Boundary Street. 

Of stand out note are his entries for working the infamous Empress of Ireland five times, the last one the year before she sank with more deaths than the Titanic. We’ll be visiting the exhibition in the Maritime Museum soon. An amazing entry is the ‘Nicosian’ in the summer of 1915 and this I unearthed relates to the horrendous incident that Tom would, if pushed, tell the family about involving his crew with Germans and a u-boat, but never went into detail. If you read about it on wikipedia, the ‘Baralong Incident’ caused an international outcry from the German’s but was in the context of 3 months after the sinking by them of the Lusitania, and of the Arabic another vessel full of innocent passengers on the day of the Baralong Incident itself. 

I have now definitely just solved the mystery of Esther that Tom got involved with and was the mother of my gran Maggie. Turns out I was right about my hunch about her being from a barge family bringing coal to Liverpool and born there. The great ‘boatpeople’ website showed me the correct Esther Pedder (born 1876) to investigate and the surname of the fella she married (Robert Spencer – from a family of boatpeople too)

But I also made a shocking find that Esther in the 1911 census was an ‘inmate’ in the Brownlow Hill workhouse together with a child, Winifred 3months old who actually died in the grim place in 1914 aged 3.

I also strongly suspect that the R Spencer in another 1911 census as a ‘lunatic’ (with many others) in an Eccleston nr Prescot hospital (probably either Whiston site now or Rainhill then) was her husband. A Robert Spencer dies in 1915 and because I’d now found the first married surname of Esther I discovered that contrary to what we mostly believed, records show that Tom Pender did in actual fact marry Esther in 1917.

Apart from being father to Maggie, the question remains was he also father to the poor Winifred, and was it Tom that got Esther out of the terrible Brownlow Hill workhouse that squatted as a warning on the site of the now Catholic Cathedral? And I still don’t know the orphanage in Liverpool where Maggie was raised/taught by Catholic nuns before being brought to live in St Helens with her Mum and stepbrothers/sister, presumably after 1915 when Robert Spencer died and when Tom married Esther.

My gran was born in 1907 in Athol Street between the docks and the top of Scottie Road. She married Ernest Ashcroft, from a St Helens mining family living in Devon Street in 1930 because she fell pregnant after a ‘consensual’ incident in a back entry. Maggie claimed she didn’t know what was happening, but has laughingly told her daughter (my Auntie Sue) how she fell in love with his eyes but was shocked when he pulled his trousers down and he had black legs! Because Ernie worked down the pit, and they hadn’t then become nationalised with mod con showers, he'd only bothered to scrub the coal dust from his face and hands!

Duncan's Granny Maggie Ashcroft (neé Pender), daughter of Tom, with her 3 sons, Dougie, Alan and Wally.
She proudly got this photo of her three sons in the local paper in the mid 40s, they got the scholarship to Cowley School, St Helens she was denied. Maggie has Douggie on the left, my Dad Wally on the right of her and Uncle Alan on the far right. Auntie Sue was soon about to be born.

Tom scrubbed up for his photo receiving the Mercantile Marine Medal given to seamen operating through danger zones during the First World War. 

Tom pender-sailors home nr Luton Street - 
The former Burton Street dockland Sailors’ Home frequented by Tom for decades in Vauxhall/Kirkdale border district off Luton Street near Boundary Street - the end building by the railway arch, now demolished and made into an industrial but the adjoining warehousing still remains.

Tom pender-sailor with tash – A merchant seaman record photo of Tom sporting the large moustash and neckpiece look as he was remembered, minus his treasured cap.

Tom’s record on the Nicosian with the same dates as the controversial world war 1 ‘Baralong Incident’ involving a German u-boat - note too a later three and a half month 1915/16 trip on the Caledonian just described as ‘Government service’ 

at new inscribed grave - 
When we found his grave again earlier this year, were dismayed that there was no inscription only a number and space on the poor ‘public’ gravestone, so we got Tom’s name inscribed. My father Wally seeing the fresh inscription for his Grandad. 

Tom pender empress of ireland - 
Some of the entries in Tom’s seaman’s book showing his work as a fireman o the Empress of Ireland

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"Only Girl" Ellen Murphy Performs at Glastonbury June 29th 2014 !!!

Ellen, also known as "Only Girl" will be performing in the Avalon Café, Glastonbury Festival on June 29th 2014 at 6:30pm. If you're attending the festival then try and get to see her!
Ellen, only daughter of John and Joanne, certainly has had a busy year - and in September, she marries Jamie! Good luck Ellen!