Father Michael Murphy

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Murphy, Michael, Rev., a Catholic clergyman, who took an active part in the Insurrection of 1798 in the County of of Wexford, was born at Kilnew, in that county, and was educated at a hedge-school at Oulart. Having been ordained at Ferns in 1785, he proceeded to Bordeaux, and pursued his studies at the Irish College. After his return he became parish priest of Ballycanew, and according to Musgrave, "behaved himself there with very great propriety till the rebellion broke out."

Dr. Madden says he was driven into joining the insurgents by his chapel being wrecked by the yeomen. He shared the fortunes of the Rev. John Murphy's brigade until the battle of Arklow, 9th June. His heroic death at that battle is thus related by Mr. Froude: "The battery behind the barricade completely swept the road. Twice the priests led on their followers, over the bodies of their falling comrades, through musket-shot and round shot and grape, to the very mouths of the guns, the priests coming so close that they shot the gunners at their posts with their pistols. Twice they failed; the second time with such desperate loss that they wavered and sought shelter among the walls... A third time they charged till they again touched the barricade. With a contempt of death which was really admirable they seemed determined to take the guns, though every man might fall in doing it, when a round shot, ... caught him and his horse, and hurled them into ruin."

Sources

141. Froude, James A.: The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century. 3 vols. London, 1872-'4.

249. Musgrave, Sir Richard: Memoirs of the Different Rebellions in Ireland. Dublin, 1801.

331. United Irishmen, their Lives and Times: Robert R. Madden, M.D. 4 vols. London, 1858-'60.

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