Michael J. Murphy

Other names
  • M. J. Murphy
  • MJM
Birth date
Date of death
18 May 1996
Birth place
Liverpool, England

Michael Joseph Murphy was born in Liverpool, England, in 1913, son of Michael and Mary Murphy, who were both natives of Drumintee, south Armagh. It from them that he received his first stories. Michael spent his early years in England and at the age of eight they returned to Ireland and to their native place in Armagh.

Michael spent a while as a farm worker and he got to know the traditions of the area around Slieve Gullion, Co. Armagh. His first book At Slieve Gullion's Foot (1940) attracted the attention of Séamus Ó Duilearga, Honorary Director of the Irish Folklore Commission, and he asked him to join the staff of the Commission initially, and full-time from 1949. From then, until he retired in 1983, Michael collected throughout Ulster and Co. Louth. As well as the tape recorder and pen and paper, he often had his camera with him and he took hundreds of photographs of the people he collected from, their working and social customs. These form part of the National Folklore Collection. He also published some of his work and amongst his books are: Tyrone Folk Quest (1973); Now You’re Talking: Folk Tales from the North of Ireland (1975); Rathlin: Island of Blood and Enchantment (1983); Sayings and Stories from Slieve Gullion (1990).

Read more about Michael J. Murphy in this leaflet.