The Murphy Family
Delia Murphy
Michael & Bridget Murphy with daughters May, Margaret & Norah 1931
Sisters Margaret Murphy and Delia were born in 1910 and 1911 respectively. Delia died in 1930, about a year before this photograph of her parents and sisters was taken. Both girls were very bright students and talented violinists when they joined an English order of nuns at fifteen years of age. The demands of a very harsh and rigorous convent life quickly took their toll on ones so young. Within a couple of years they had contracted tuberculosis and were advised by their superior to leave the convent. Their parents realising the inevitable were heartbroken. Dad Michael, who had his misgivings about their joining the English order in the first place, travelled alone to England to bring his daughters home. It was the saddest of journeys, and despite the best medical attention available, both sisters succumbed to the disease. Delia died on the 31st October,1930, aged 19 years. Margaret died on the 15th of February, 1938. 
Grandmother Bridget with grandchildren Frances and Martin Murphy - 1962
Grandfather Michael Murphy with his son Martin (Sonny) and grand-daughter Mary Walshe, shortly before she sailed to join relatives in America in 1948
Susan (Babe) Murphy
Uncle Sonny Murphy and his daughter-in-law Anne
Uncle Sonny - 1997
Sonny and Babe (Moran) Murphy and their nine children . Back L to R Michael, Frances & Padraig. Front L to R Delia, Gerry, Seamus, John, Martin & Teresa - c1962
Sonny Murphy Himself
On a warm and sunny July afternoon in 1986, Sonny accompanied Tricia & me on our visit to the Walshe family in Keekill (Coichille). Sonny had a great sense of humour and in the nicest of ways nothing was sacred to him. As my father would have said, "He was gifted, he was a gifted story teller!" And while he performed well on his own, find him in the company of his son Gerry, or any of his sons for that matter, and they were absolutely brilliant.
Having grown up in Sydney, Tricia was fascinated by Sonny's accent. We both loved to hear him talk and to our great enjoyment, the stories kept getting better the further we went. As we turned right for Keekill off the Headford-Galway Road, the little grotto of Our lady on the corner reminded Sonny of his recent visit with son Gerry to the moving statues down south in Co Cork. "They were there in thousands! They had come from everywhere all over the world, and sure it was a grand sight! Them there kneelin and prayin and gaspin and waitin for her to move, the statue to start movin. Ah we waited and waited!" Pause
'Did you see her move, Sonny?" 
"What was that?" 
"Did she move?"
"Did she move! Did she move! Well she rocked and she rocked, moved left and right and left and right again faster and faster till sure at the end you were so dizzy everything was movin and rockin, the trees the people - everything! Ah 'twas a lovely sight, and sure the lad could tell you that now himself without a word of a lie!" 
It reminded me of his description a few weeks earlier of a pothole in the Cahermaculick Road just outside Willie Murphy's. Gerry and Sonny had called to visit Mam shortly after Dad had passed away. As it so happened I had seen that same pothole myself about an hour earlier. Certainly noticeable. But it was the way Sonny and Gerry bounced off each other during Sonny's description by way of complaint that made it one of the most entertaining and humorous of stories.
"You saw it? That you did and all and how could you not!" (Sonny to me) 
"What with all those cars going past, oh it's so dangerous!". (Gerry as he watched Sonny)  
"It is that and big too, really big.."
"Ah you're right there alright - sure it's mighty big altogether".  
"Well now without a shadow of doubt, it's the biggest pothole I've ever seen...."  
"Lord God if you went down into't and survived, it would take you half an hour to get up the other side!'
That was indeed a fine story as was that July afternoon and evening in Keekill with cousins Michaeleen Walshe and Eileen and their children Damien, Selena and Jason. The picture of Sonny by the boat reminds me of what was in hindsight a funny incident during our boat trip on the lake, Lough Corrib. Our host, Michael Walshe who has a lot of respect for the lake, knowing its many moods, gave us a running commentary of its complex character - not a pleasure ground for the uninformed and inexperienced by any standards. About halfway into the trip as we traversed a deep stretch of water not so calm as earlier, Tricia decided to move from my right on the seat to my left to obtain a little more protection from the rays of the sun. The chain reaction that this caused saw us all frantically scrambling to stay in the boat as it bounced like a cork in turbulent waters. I can still see that picture of a shocked Sonny as he fought to hold on to his cap, glasses and the boat all at the same time. We all did laugh about it later over a drink in the security of Walshe's place. 
This 1986 photo of Gerry and me  during one of his stories says it all
By calm waters after our trip on the lake
(Back Row) Sonny, Gerry, Teresa & Anne-Marie (Front Row) Laura & Gerard
Sonny and his nieces Josie, Mary & Madge Walshe.
At Keekill by the Corrib - 1986
From L to R Martin Coleman, Eileen Walshe, Madge (Walshe) Lally, Damien Walshe, Sonny Murphy, Michael Walshe, Madge's friend, and cousin Jackie (Mary's daughter) from America with cousins Selena and Jason Walshe.
As part of the Clan Coleman Reunion in 2004, we met at the Anglers' Rest Hotel in Headford for the clan dinner on Sunday, 8th August. It was great to have cousins from my mother's side of the family with us to celebrate the occasion. In the photo on the left, we have Teresa Murphy with in-laws Frances and Tom Mohan, and on the right Gerry Murphy with brother Jimmy and sister-in-law Anne.   
With us also on the occasion were Gerry's sister, Delia, and her husband Pat Greenan.
Anne-Marie Murphy & Martin Coleman Glencorrib 2004
Teresa & Gerry
1948 Fordson restored to pristine condition by Gerry for exhibitions and shows
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