Mary J. Murphy

Writer, broadcaster and non-academic historian.

Jimmy Laffey.

Mary J. Murphy.

Mary J Murphy, one of four children born to Bernadette and Andrew Murphy at Derrylissane, Menlough, would later reside, along with her family, at Ballinruane House in the adjoining Ballinruane townland. Mary J is the mother of three teenagers who now divides her time between Caherlistrane and Achill Island. As she awoke each morning at Ballinruane House the local St. Joseph’s National School, as her first entry to formal education, was in clear view and afterwards she would commence and complete her secondary education at Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew.

A graduate of NUI Galway and a post-graduate of Dublin City University, she has devised scripts, written for Irish, British, US and New Zealand publications as a correspondent, taught English, has worked as a broadcaster and feature writer in Dublin, London, Reykjavik, Nashville and New York, and devotes much of her time these days to researching local  history (e.g. the forgotten Galway stories of Maureen O Carroll TD and of ‘Achill’s Eva O ‘Flaherty’), and to speaking engagements.

Currently working on book four – an examination of the development of Irish Modern Art on Achill, due in Spring 2019 – she is also knee-deep in compiling a biography of Anglo-Irish poet Emily Lawless, whose mother was born locally in Castlehacket House, Caherlistrane. This project is partially based on research material compiled by her friend, Professor Betty Webb, retired Professor Emeritus, of Meredith College, North Carolina, an internationally renowned expert on the life of Lawless.

Mary’s interests include rambling along Achill’s tempestuous seashore kicking driftwood, plus good music, better books, and Olivia O Leary’s chosen poetry, while John O Donnell’s Swim is the poem that speaks most directly to her soul. Mary also plays a mighty fine ukulele and intends to be a professional beachcomber when she grows up.

Her books are:

  • CAHERLISTRANE with Eilish O Carroll (Knockma Publishing 2015)
  • Achill’s Eva O Flaherty:Forgotten Island Heroine (Knockma Publishing 2012)
  • VIKING SUMMER:MGM’s Filming of ‘Alfred The Great’ in Galway in 1968 (Knockma Publishing 2008).
This page was added on 19/10/2018.

Comments about this page

  • Note to Mary J Murphy,
    Hi Mary, I know I don’t have to tell you what a lovely person your aunt Rita Curran is. She’s proud of you as you know and is probably the freshest, most ‘with-it’ nonagenarian I’ve come across. Today – as I delivered her meal on wheels – she mentioned John Prine in passing and I said I was a big fan, whereupon she popped back into the house and brought out a cutting of your very good (and very self-effacing) Tuam Herald piece on the said ‘troubadour’, complete with your
    These are the pleasant surprises that make meals on wheels such a pleasant occupation in these otherwise uneventful times. I’ll be looking out for your books etc. from now on.
    All the best,
    Liam O’Donovan, Galway.

    By Liam O'Donovan (11/05/2020)

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