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Famous People

There’s no doubt that we Murphys have had a great impact on the world having been part of some historic occasions down through the centuries – here’s a look at some of the famous (and infamous!) people of the Murphy name who have graced the world their presence:


Famous Murphy Ancestors: Fr. John Murphy While we’ve always believed ourselves to have been somewhat “divine” in some way or another, the Murphys have acquitted themselves admirably within the religious orders. Fr. John Murphy was a priest from Co. Wexford who led a group of rebels against English forces in the 1798 Rebellion and his deeds are immortalised in the Irish ballad “Boolavgoue” – in fact, a statue to the heroics of Fr. Murphy stands the town of Enniscorthy in Co. Wexford.

Another priest of the Murphy Clan, Fr. Michael Murphy also led a group of rebels in the 1798 Rebellion and he too died heroically in the cause for Irish freedom.

Other less well-known but no less important Murphys within the world of religion include Edward Murphy who was the Archbishop of Dublin during the 18th Century; Francis Murphy who hailed from the Co. Meath town of Navan was Bishop of Adelaide during the 1800s; John Murphy was Bishop of Cork during the 1800’s as well and was notable for his large book collections which included 120 Irish manuscripts which he donated to Maynooth College, Co. Kildare.


The Murphy gift of being able to win over people to our way of thinking has served some of ancestors very well indeed.

In New York, Charles Murphy made his way from East Side neighborhoods to turn out to be leader of Tammany Hall from 1902 to 1924 and is credited with having huge influence on a young Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In Brooklyn, the title of mayor was held by Henry Cruse Murphy during the 1800s and he also was a member of Congress and later became a U.S. Senator. Pittsburgh’s 55th mayor was a certain Tom Murphy and the state of Arkansas had governor Isaac Murphy during the 1800s as well.

In 1933, Frank Murphy was Governor General of the Philippines before becoming Governor of his home state of Michigan in 1936 – a mere three years later saw him take the position of US Attorney-General in 1939.


  Famous Murphy Ancestors: Timmy Murphy

The great Murphy fighting spirit and true leadership qualities has seen our ancestors celebrated with distinction on the battlefield. While the two Fr. Murphys mentioned in the “Religion” section above are notable in Irish terms, the international influence of military Murphys ranges from the American War of Independence right up to modern day.

War heroes within the Murphy Clan include the most famous marksman of the American Revolution, Timothy Murphy who played a huge part in securing American victory during the Battle of Saratoga where he took down two British commanders.

Other notable mentions include Fr. Timothy Murphy, the first Army chaplain to be killed in World War I along with Audie Murphy who had the unique honor of being the most decorated US serviceman of World War II. Audie’s bravery was recognised with the awarding of a Medal of Honor for holding off over 200 Germans troops and six tanks in a singlehanded phenomenon of sheer courage.

Law & Order

Steeled with the will to protect and to serve for the good of all the people, we Murphys have never been found wanting when it comes to public service. The city of New York has been blessed to have had a Thomas Murphy as Police Commissoner in 1951 (he later became a federal judge) while Police Commissioner Michael Murphy carried the fight against corruption during the 1960s.


The creative talents of the Murphy Clan have not gone unnoticed as the centuries have passed either. Notable artistic Murphys include the playwright Arthur Murphy who wrote “The Way To Keep Him” a production that is still performed in modern times, no mean feat given that Arthur penned this play back in the 1700s.

John Murphy of Cork became a master of mezzotint having studying engraving in the 1700s and was commissioned to produce work royalty including George III.

And the craft of sculpting has brought much fame to the Murphy Clan with Thomas J. Murphy (born in 1881) of Cork becoming a renowned sculptor having inherited the skills of his father John Murphy, also a sculptor. Seamus Murphy (also of Cork) gained fame as a noted sculptor too eventually becoming Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Hibernian Academy but perhaps best known for his book, Stone Mad which was published in 1950.


Famous Murphy Ancestors: William Martin MurphyThe Murphy ability to spot an opportunity has always filtered through our veins and these attributes have served many Murphys well in the world of business.

One of the most well-known Murphy ventures is of course the ever-popular Murphys Irish Stout which has its operation in Cork and along with being a favourite of locals, the brewery is developing an international presence – the Murphy brothers who founded Murphy Brewery were headed up by James J. Murphy who drove the business forward and it appears that the success of Murphys Irish Stout will only grow and grow.

Other notable Murphy contributions to the business world include William Martin Murphy who founded one of Ireland’s top media groups, Independent Newspapers and also owned various construction and transportation businesses while Patrick Murphy blazed a trail for all Murphys within the beverage industry in 1730 by founding the Dome Sherry Business which produced Spanish sherry.

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